I’ll Play it the Missionary Way

I’ll play it the missionary way,
Whatever the Lord asks me I’ll obey.
Wherever he needs me there I’ll go, supposing say Deutschland, I will go
Ooooh, Oooh, Oooh
The future is gleaming with missionary time,
I’m working to conquer that fear inside.
I’ll go where you want to go dear Lord, I’ll open my heart and make if full.

So big news for this email.
Sister Gardner had been part of the Vienna Zone since her first moments as a missionary in the field. She had grown apart from many of the others in her lovely green land of Graz, she would see them when she gathered with them, faces becoming familiar and watching slowly as all those familiar faces left, but not sister Gardner. She instead went to a new land, the land of Wiener Neustadt. Now closer to those who worked with her for her cause, she felt a renewed sense of support and a knowledge of what was happening across the entire zone. Still she remained as old faces left. Then for a glorious few weeks, Sister Gardner got to live a dream of hers, she loved and cared for every bit of the zone that she could touch. Her knowledge growing, she felt that she would be quite content and happy to stay in the Vienna zone her whole mission life, or at least stay in the land of red white and red. She felt that there were things to do, people to love. One day however, as her loving sister and she sat next to the phone, eating breakfast and nervously putting together a puzzle to calm the Amazonian butterflies, she discovered that she would be leaving. Leaving to the land of black, red and yellow. She found out that she would be joining forces with a fellow “Lindon-ite” in the land of Tübingen, Germany. The Lord had different plans than she had for herself, as He so often does. So now was the time for the Sister to follow with faith despite her surprise. A feeling of anticipation was prominent, penetrating, even with the flood of so many emotions that she would feel among those last few days in Wiener Neustadt.

The two flags of Sister Gardner's Missionary Heart.

The two flags of Sister Gardner’s Missionary Heart.

It has made me think about hearts. We are always told to bring to the Lord a broken heart and a contrite spirit. A heart that is to be broken to be healed again, to become stronger.

I have felt to Sing, ” I Left my Heart in Wiener Neustadt.” But as I thought about it more, I felt that it sounds a bit selfish, my heart has been letting me know that it is willing to break a little bit more to let in more people.

Or maybe a whole country.

Austrian Hillside.

Austrian Hillside.

When I left on my mission I left behind loved ones, but oh how I have been rewarded with more people to love, and here I go again. I shall fall in love with these people that I do not even know yet.

Yesterday I went up to a mountain called Schneeberg.
I was the most beautiful thing to be back up in the mountains, with the trees and the mist and the rocks and the earth and the leaves. I could not help but feel my soul swell with thanks and joy to be in Gods creation. We climbed through many different sorts of paths, my favorites were the ones that required me to cling to the rocks in front of me. Just steep enough that it required me to look for good hand hold in the rocks, testing first the section to see if it would hold as I continued up. We laughed and told riddles, throwing snowballs gleefully at each other, waited for those who needed our help in certain sections, gazed hungrily at the vast landscape marveling at the clouds below us. We lived as beings in an entire unpopulated, uncluttered section of the earth. Sometimes the mist covered the peak and our goal was out of sights, but the wind would blow giving us a temporary view of our end destination. The air was clean and fresh.
A member of our ward was our mountain guide, he brought a lady in one of the wards with him, and it was the Wiener Neustadt missionaries, and our favorite Hungarian RM. Wearing borrowed hiking boots and using sticks supplied by W S we ascended safely.
When we finally reached the top a vast field rewarded us with the wind roaring and other bright dots of color from the few other hikers also on the top. We stopped for lunch.
But I wanted to share my main thought of this whole purpose of relaying this story of our trip.

On top of the mountain, I went a few yards away from the group still in their sight of course. I lay in the thin mountain covering looking up into the blue cloudless sky. The wind pushing my hair about as I opened my arms and glazed up, feeling very, very close to my Father in Heaven. I had brought a Book of Mormon along. I started to read and as I did a feeling of peace settled upon my heart. I could feel the love of my Father. After a few pages, I just sat enjoying that feeling, enjoying this glorious beautiful moment of my life.

Schneeberg, Alps

Schneeberg, Alps

Now, I am back in a computer room, paper and printers and mouses and appointments and planners. All good things too, but as I think back to that mountaintop, I can feel again that peace. That peace of knowing my Father was there aware of me, as he is aware of all his children.

I am grateful for God’s children I have loved in this little bit of the earth. I am grateful for the missionaries I have worked with, for my dear Ecuador families, for leaders in the church, for the young people, for the old, for the S and K’s family. I am grateful for K’s mother even if she did call me, Elder Calee. Ha. Ha.
I am grateful for those I have spoken to on the street or in trains, grateful for the regulars of my little city. I am grateful for little tri-lingual girls, and German classes filled with Hungarians. I am glad for rehearsals and butterfly loving ladies. I am grateful for maps of Vienna that help me not get lost. For sassy friends who turn out to open up their hearts and let you heal them a bit before you go. For too large cheese filled pieces of fried meat at Herbs, and shaken up Traums (dreams) on long train rides. For inspired prayers and kept commitments. For faith being built and testimonies strengthened. For all the on the floor belly laugher in between. I am grateful for all of the miracles I have seen, all the moments when everything worked out with the help of power beyond my own.

I am grateful for my companion Sister Pratt, for the love and music she has shared with me. She, for being a true friend. I am so glad to have reopened this area, and though I must now leave it, the very world I have worked with my heart and soul to build up, I find comfort in my confidence of the Lords plan for us.

I have confidence in sunshine. I have confidence….

So here is to you Austria, to how much of my heart you have won, I will leave you now to take care of your brothers and sisters.

” But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.”

I love you.

Sister Gardner

Sister Gardner, a missionary in the rain.

Sister Gardner, a missionary in the rain.

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