The Writing on the Wall


But more than that,

More than what solution fits the crime,

What I’ve learned is life is bits of time,

And you fight for every tiny speck ……

Is it clear?

If you hear my voice then you’re alive,

What a blessed marvel we survive,

When you think of ever trial you face

In this grand human race……..

And give up never!

The fight – you’ll need the wherewithal!

Can’t you heed the lighting

As I plead.

Inciting you to read the writing on the wall.

(Song from The Mystery of Edwin Drood)

This is debatably one of the most influential musical theater songs in my life, the other now inspires the very name of my blog you may be reading.  Though high school musical theater holds little weight in the grand scheme of things, the love and effort put into this single little moment in a school auditorium really resonates with the efforts in a little city in a right hand corner of Austria. Compared with the vast expanse of missionary progress in South America, one might be tempted to compare our 36 baptisms mission wide as some sort of small single Lego in the middle of a large model of the Incredible Hulk or a complete to scale model of New York City. But just like throwing a starfish into the ocean after a storm, it makes a difference to that one.

Sister Gardner and Sister Pratt in Wiener Neustadt

Sister Gardner and Sister Pratt in Wiener Neustadt

“Life is bits of time… And you fight for every tiny speck…” Every moment on my mission is a moment of the Lords. I am on his time so I try to always look for ways to serve or at least put on a smile so I can truly share that my work is a work of joy. I am not always perfect at this, indeed I feel pushed down or discouraged occasionally but it gives no excuse to sit down and give up. I have tried my whole life to never be that. And it has inspired a sort of stubborn and blessed obstinacy that has kept me going through good and bad. It has grown as I have experienced what life has to throw at me or give me, it has grown through experiences and choices and it is all made possible by the atonement of Jesus Christ.

This week marks the end of my first transfer in Wiener Neustadt, luckily for me, I get to stay another one with my dear Sister Pratt.  She gets to put up with my occasionally “sherlockianness” another transfer, good thing we will be singing all the way. My district stayed the same for this transfer, and almost all the sisters are staying the same. Some changes with elders but not too crazy. My original Graz family is all out of Graz as it welcomes yet another golden into it’s arms. One big difference is that the sister training leaders are now living in Wiener Neustadt. I am so grateful for this opportunity to love and serve my sisters even more than before. Also lifting some lost lambs in Graz on tausch (exchange) will be a blessing for I find I have been thinking of them.

Well this week held many wonderful things, I am glad when our weeks are busy, I like to be busy and if we are not, I work to find time to meet new friends that will, be blessed by this gospel.

No rolling green hills right at hand so how about

No rolling green hills right at hand so how about “This Field is Alive with the sound of Music”

We went to opera house last week and it was so, so wonderful to be in a theater again. I could smell those set changes. I asked out tour guide if she had ever sang on the stage she said no with a smile but said that I could. My district was teasing me a bit, and of course I would not try and really sing, but I did sing a bit under my breath imagining how wonderful it would be to be out on stage again. It makes me happy more than anything, second only to teaching someone with the spirit and seeing their souls be touched and their hearts softened.

Our German courses went well this week. I ended up teaching all of the Tuesday class. We had a tausch (exchange) with the Vienna sisters and I was with Sister Eden so it was fun to do a little bit of training for the day. I tried to really make it a really good and fun learning experience. I was also glad to help our GML (ward mission leader) with his moving. Running up and down stairs is fun. Sister Pratt and Ahlm had a late appointment so they did not have time to tausch back so I packed an overnight bag and joined all of the others in Vienna for the night. It was so fun to fill up all the beds in the two bunk beds and feel what it would be like to live with another companionship or in a dritt. (trio) Sister Pratt told us some scary stories and I kept interjecting with things like, “and the butterfly flew gracefully across the…” And other things like that when ever sister Eden started to get really freaked out. Sister Eden and I where singing astonishing as we cooked toast without a toaster for breakfast for the four of us.

An exchange with Sister Eden.

An exchange with Sister Eden.

Zone training was amazing, a super spiritual and motivating experience, more than any one I have been to this whole time. It really helped me see some ways to improve and realize that though I am improving I need to re evaluate and really focus on becoming the missionary I always thought I could be, my dream. I made a little poster banner of sorts in red paper to remind me of the attributes I am trying to exemplify.

We met with sister E, she is a less active and has so much desire to come back and get her patriarchal blessing and go get prepared for the temple. We are trying to help her feel the love and know that God will support her through any trial and cheers at each progress no matter how small. We know she has the desire and we are working to make it happen.

W fixed our bike problem by buying us lights and a new bike.  Luckily he is going to let us pay him back for the bike but he bought the missionaries a pump for the bike as a gift. He is trying so hard and has been making so much process in reading and testimony building since the first time we met. We were able to meet with C. a young single mom Hungarian woman we met through the German class. She has just been feeling alone and the church has really been giving her a place to belong and she has felt good just being there. She is going back to Hungary for a while but the missionaries and ward already know she is coming thanks to some lovely member help.

J and E are still trying to work things out. T got back in touch with us after we had been trying and so we are going to meet this week.

I really love K’s mom R. I can tell she feels the spirit at church but we just need to keep gently inviting her to pray about the truth, she is so lovely. Her curly, curly black hair and little yellow hair clips, she works so hard to help with translating and I just really love her. I hope that as the elders keep teaching K and we keep getting invited to the appointments so we can keep her progress going. I finally also this week met the cousin of J, A, she was helping with the moving and is an investigator. She is a cool lady. I really hope we get to start teaching her.

Also Bishop and his wife where feeling sick this week so we brought them a card.

Well that was a big long email of names and people that you have never met, but I suppose you can gain comfort in knowing that all over the world the Lords work is moving forward. One little slice of the giant plan of the pie of salvation. Heh heh.

Beautiful Countryside

Beautiful Countryside

In other news I gave a talk on Sunday and Sister P said we should wear dirndls because it was some holiday but I get to the church and no one is wearing them, just Sister Pratt and myself. I was so embarrassed, but when sister P and all the little P’s children got there I wasn’t so alone but it was a little nerve wracking to give the talk.  Usually it is just fine, I love giving talks, speaking in front of others. But, I had only found out about it on Friday night so it was not all translated, written in English yes and thought, and prayed over but not yet translated. I was very nervous. But then as I was standing at the door greeting people trying not to worry, who comes walking in with her son in law, but the Stake young women’s president. And that just happens to be sister K from Gemeinde, Graz. I started crying happy tears when I saw her. She was like a mother figure for me when I was in Graz, she gave me a big hug and a little chocolate heart she brought for me. Then when she was sitting on the stand (as the important visitor she was) I got to sit by her until it was time to give my talk. God sent me this tender mercy in my time of being nervous.

I love you so much and I wish you well for this week. Look for little tender mercies

Love, Sister Gardner

My limerick as promised:

Bounded in blue, yes, this is a true book

Let me explain, while you take a good look.

Maroni ten three through five

Do it while you are alive

Ask in real intent; a spirit shook.