Teaching Through Life

Teaching through life…

Testimony, commitment.

Asking the questions they have in their soul.

Life is mess

Without our name tags.

Word on the street hey, you guys are Mormons

Teaching through life,

Find on the sidewalk,

Hey we would like to share with you…

“Nothing matters,” “no sir, to God you really matter,”

This is life… So we’ll keep teaching you…

 

This week flew by. Again.

I don’t know I cannot even really seem to exactly grasp when the week started, or how it all went by. I mean I know what we did on each day, but it just sort of goes and goes and goes and then it is Monday again.

My life is this work.

 

I don’t have very much time today, so unfortunately this letter this week will just be a nice bunch of bullet points.

️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️

But at least it has stars on it.

 

the zoo teaching

teaching all of God’s creatures at the Zoo

  • I preached to the Flamingos and the goats at the zoo. … (Matthew 16: 15)
  • I Talked to people walking along the river way in the most lovely part of town, and helped an American find the start of the sound of music tour, surprise she had already met with the missionaries before and a good friend of hers is a member, I challenged her to take the lessons again. (Alma 26:29-30) (not so much the second half of 29…)
  • We ate cake and sang loud for our cute teenage investigators birthday, who finally came to a young woman’s activity. (Mosiah 20:1)Birthday Party
  • I tausched with a lovely new missionary, that also happened to be extremely excited to help with the primary girls dance activity, and put up with me running around just like the good old days in Tübingen. (Mosiah 4: 27)

    Sister Harrick

    Sister Harrick from California- we went on an exchange t his week.

  • I ate all you can eat schnitzel at a members home… (Ends 1:20) (heh heh)j/k…(Matthew 15: 37)
  • We went and clarified the commandments to our friend who thought any painting of Jesus was blasphemes and would not read the pamphlets because of that . (Mosiah 27:35)
  • We had a wonderful zone conference and I was able to see many old friends and also find out what has been happening in my old Wien zone areas. (Alma 17:2-3)
    Zone conf

    Salzburg And Wien Zone Conference

    zone conf 2

    Zone Conference

    the MTC crew

    My MTC Buddies

  • And I kept a 6 year old investigators son busy in relief society when he did not want to go to primary by playing tic tack toe and showing him little Book of Mormon story picture cards. (Alma 43:30)
  • We got on a train and ended up far, far away from our goal… And just about out of our area, but found two people who had already met with missionaries in the past. The woman saw us wandering in this three house neighborhood in the middle of the woods, as we had gone down the dirt road trying to figure out if there was any way to get back home besides the next train that would come in an hour. Then this woman comes driving up, and asks us if we are lost and offers us a ride to the main part of town about ten minutes away with a car… Where are you two from… France. USA… Utah… Are you Mormon? (The breath of a moment that is just this sort of fist pump inside of my head) Ah, yes, yes we both are…. ….. Well the conversation continued, she did not take the copy of the Book of Mormon, for the one that had been inscribed for her she had not given back, but if that is not some sort of sigh to this woman I don’t know what is…. Literally in the woods and there were three houses and we just got off the random train stop when we realized we were on the wrong train, which we realized at that time because I had been so involved with talking with a former investigator that we met on the train of the Newmarket elders in our distrikt. …. God has a plan, especially when ours does not go as we had planned. (Alma 26:12)

    elvis was here

    Bus stop in the middle of nowhere…at least we know who has been here before.

Well folks, I just wanted to close up by saying our Father in Heaven loves us. No matter how many silly things we do we can always come back to him, and like the father welcoming the lost son, he we see us afar run to us and welcome with open arms. Our Father in Heaven knows your heart, so if he can see you coming, he is going to run to you… Any by that send those who will run to you. So if you see that, know you are most certainly not alone, accept the messengers who bring Gods love in his place they are his tools. His hands that put into action the desires and plans of his heart. Whether the messengers be missionaries, or friends or family, or random people on the street. If you want to come back or even just be better He will help you along your way… Let him know how you feel, pray to him. Tell him what is on your mind.

I love you all…

And happy Father’s Day, here’s to fathers on earth and a perfect Father in Heaven…

Love, sister Gardner

going to maria's

ON the way to a teaching appointment

What is This Feeling

WHAT IS THIS FEELING…..

What is this feeling so sudden and new,

I felt the moment I prayed to ask if it’s true.

My bosoms burning, the tears are flowing,

My soul is calming, the answers coming,

Burning like a flame, does it have a name?

Yeah….. Yeah!

Moroni, chapter ten, verse 3, 4

…. (Sing it, it works… But my song writing skills are all songed out.)

 

So let’s talk about missionary work instead. 🙂

Our work started Monday with a part member family home evening. He did not leave during the middle and only made one joke about falling asleep during the stake conference he came to. Unfortunately my attempts to let him win at phase ten did not work out so much, but at least I did not win.

Tuesday held distrikt meeting

And this time nothing crazy like trains going the wrong direction or bikes rebelling was able to make us late. And we ran into artist M on the way in. Our lesson with her went entirely as the lord had planned it. We had planned and practiced something different, but as we talked, and as she showed us her art, a beautiful lesson formed from our questions. We find out that a few years ago she had investigated many different churches trying to find the right direction. She has always had the question of what is the purpose of life. She is really amazing and agreed to hear what we have to say about God’s plan for us. Her art is colorful and patterned and she loved the symbolism we were able to find in it… Excellent opportunity to bring up the Christlike attributes or the creation or love of our brothers and sisters.

We gave a church tour to a man we met on the street last week. We taught him to pray and he did it even thou he did not feel very sure about it, he was looking at me as he said it, but eventually he got it and it was a beautiful moment.

Wednesday had us meeting with a man to give him a Book of Mormon, someone we met last week on the street, but my goodness this man could speak no English and a microscopic amount of German. …. And no French, but about six other ones. Oh well. We gave him the Book of Mormon showed him the website, used google translate to the best of our ability and I emailed him all the pamphlets in his language… So, we shall see. He also lives rather far away from Salzburg.Austria

The little girls dance class went so well. All the little primary girls came and their moms. And they were all wearing tights and leotards and dance clothes. I think they where rather confused I was not wearing ballet shoes and a skirt. I suppose I will have to dress the part of dance teacher a bit better next week. We did a warm up and a creative section and stretching and then of course practicing the very simple, simple choreography. But I believe they enjoyed it. They were totally into it, and looking at me with giant eyes. And then on Sunday they all came and gave me hugs. So I suppose that was nice.

MLC was an adventure. I always love taking part in the discussions there, it makes me feel really I excited to help the sisters in the zone, and we found out we will soon be able to use the area book app! I am so excited for that. My desk might now be too memorized but I love a good memorized area book and this will be a great opportunity. It was also nice to see some old friends and there have been many good memories in Munich. It made me think of the first time at MLC with sister Pratt, my first day in the mission, and of course getting sister Strihavka ‘s visa. Know what I love, my iPad still recognizes when I write her name. MLC sisters

Weekend was filled with A and K, he is participating more and more in the lessons and this time they invited us to eat and invited a friend who used to meet with the missionaries. They are simple happy people, they don’t expect you to dress nice, be too serious, they just make jokes and still like coloring and doing puzzles. They are not so uptight as some Austrian people. Sometimes they are a little too relaxed, but I still think they both have amazing good hearts. We laughed a lot as we did the dishes A came up behind me and was moving my hands around to wash the dishes and laughing her head off.

We went with M, and the poor thing has been meeting up with some other religious folks and they got her all confused about the millennium and resurrection. But we had a great lesson filled with the spirit. She is so close. I wish I could just help her overcome her concerns, but she just cannot get over a few things. We really, really, really hope she comes to church this week.

Sadly on Sunday no one was at church. We have four people committed to baptism, but they are not keeping their commitments so we might have to move all the dates back.

But I am busy enough on Sundays. We have so many tourists that come. That has honestly never been an element of any of my other areas. In the morning, amid greeting members, I am running around trying to make sure everyone who needs it has translation and then I am usually translating for relief society too.

This Sunday was fast Sunday and I wanted to bear my testimony so much, but there were no pauses and I had no chance to pop that microphone into Elder Erickson’s hand and then go up, but maybe next month.

I think I realized something this week.

I am a missionary Nerd. You know there are those people in school who like getting the good grades and learning. We call them lovingly nerds sometimes… Well. I am a nerd when it comes to missionary work.

I am a proud nerd.

I wanted to share just one scripture before I sign off .

Mosiah 24: 13-15

This is a scripture that came up three times this week in completely random unrelated lessons or meetings.

13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

 

I love that in this story God does not take away the challenges or the load to carry rather he qualifies and strengthens those who have been given this experience. He helps us to be cheerful as we work and labor. I really feel that this is true for our lives and the life as a missionary. I would actually be rather sad if the Lord just took this away, because then it means I don’t get to have the challenge of trying to make it work. It is like putting together a show or a presentation, yes, of course you could take away the fog, or the fly system, or the costumes. … That would certainly be easier. Less of a burden to try and manage, but I know it would also be less spectacular. I want to be someone who takes this big work that the Lord has given me. So much to manage and do and people to love and meet and serve. I want to keep being made stronger that I may grow. I know the lord is there for us when we need his support, but even better is when we can take his yoke upon us and pull with him, or put forth our sickle with all our might.

I feel that truly God is the one who shapes and corrects us into something more magnificent and breath taking. I trust him.

You can too.

All my love,

Sister Calee Gardner

a Fun  Little Story

We are headed to the church and I see this little fluff ball. He was on the walkway with tall walls on both sides. I was worried he would have a bike ridden over him or someone not paying attention using earphones would step on him. I know I can’t pick him up because then his mom would not take care of him. He is making scared little chirps and his mom is flying around above not knowing what to do. He is shaking and I am looking at the little guys almost in tears. So I say a little prayer. Maybe it is dumb to be so worried about a little bird, but I really wanted to help the little guy. But we had to go, so we start a little away, and he tries to fly up the wall but he only gets about half way and then falls back down again. I can’t leave, it takes a little while but I get him cornered and he hops on my iPad case and then I put him in the bush at the top of the shorter wall and to my joy he starts to hop from branch to branch, I was so glad he was safe.

little bird 1little bird 2

Good News

He lives! Jesus Christ, He lives! The son of God, the Prince of Peace,
the friend to all, his love shall never cease. Goooooood news. He
lives.

(If you are confused take a look at the opening song of the musical
not about Dorothy.)

From the moment this new transfer started we have been seeing a lot of
changes especially with the people. Wednesday morning was eaten up by
being at bahnhof, helping all the missionaries get their luggage where
they needed to go and being there to be companions for the sister
waiting on her new companion. Salzburg is the point, much like Munich
that many, many transferring missionaries have to go through on
transfer day. It was exhilarating to see new faces and old.
Bittersweet to say goodbye to friends, and inspiring to welcome those
who are brand new on the mission.


I envy these freshly bloomed missionaries, they have their whole
mission ahead of them. Would love to have a whole new set of eighteen
months ahead of me, I have wanted this time since I was 14, why would
I want it to be over any time soon. This was the big goal, the big
dream. It still is, I am still living my dream every day. Talking with
random strangers and trying to help them remember that we are actually
brothers and sisters.

This week two people that I love very much went on their missions.
Reading their first letters I felt so, so glad for them. A mission
is the most wonderful thing. I am so excited to hear about their ups
and downs, successes and failures, disappointments and victories, the
mere adventure and amazing learning process.

transfers

Sister waiting in Salzburg

Anyhow on a note of what is happening in Salzburg…

I have been trying to work in unity with ward members and leaders. We
had a great meeting with our relief society president, just talked
about some sisters we could be supporting in the ward and she also
told us her conversion story, it all happened just because her friend
invited her over to watch a presentation from the missionaries, she
was too shy to say no, and did not want to go alone so she brought her
brother and two friends. … Guess who are all members of the church
now? Boom. Member missionary work.

Then later that week there was a relief society activity. I loved
looking around the room and realizing I had done something to either
work with or serve each lady in the room. We have a sweet Italian lady
in our ward, she is married to an Austrian and they just had their
first baby. A few Sunday’s ago she and her baby had a bit of s fall,
there was a glass that broke, and the poor little thing had stitches,
just a few weeks old. We were all very concerned and an ambulance had
to come to the church after the third hour, anyhow, we made her a meal
and it made me so happy to see the little baby feeling ok, and the
hair starting to grow back where they had to shave it away.

We also had the wonderful opportunity to go to ward council this week
because our ward mission leader had to work. I love being a part of
ward council, it helps you know what worries the ward members have,
and you find ways you can help more than when the GML himself goes and
just reports. But our GML is great so I am not complaining. Just you
know me, I like to be in the behind the scenes, the ( (employees only)
if you will) and part of what makes it all happen.

We have got our children’s dance class and singing class all set up
for these next weeks and a concert lined up for the first of July. I
am glad we have a small stage, now I just need to figure out how those
lights work. 🙂 this is all for our activity in combination with the
relief society and the primary children. The idea is they can invite
their friends to participate and then also the teacher of those who are
learning a musical instrument, Just pray that we will be able to pull
it all off, the ward is worried about having it later because if I or
elder Erickson gets transferred than the engines powering things will
be dead.   Well, not dead yet, just, somewhere else. So now it is in
three weeks and the ward members hardly know anything. But if I can
make this into something, then my name is not sister Gardner. We
already had a nice response from the moms that we spoke with on
Sunday. The theme is “singende klingede sommer” or roughly translated,
” singing the songs of summer.” Just pray I can handle the class of
little children and that we will have enough Olafs for our “In sommer”
choir. If anyone can put together a number with little boys, it is
elder Erickson. The kids love him and he is so patient with them. I am
excited to also see how it goes with elder Apel.
transfer waiting
Elder apel is from Freiburg, I love that he speaks in German all the
time. He has a strong personality and he looks like someone you would
not want to mess with, in a good way. He has served in Switzerland his
whole mission and now he is in Austria for his last twotransfers. We will go
home the same time. Haha,…… when we go home……. which is still really far
away. He likes his meat, and loves to go finding. He is great. Our
district now also has a golden, being trained by elder Jensen. I am
excited to get to know him more.

We have many people preparing themselves for baptism but they are not
keeping the commitment to come to church. Every time we visit they
say, oh yes, I want to go, and then we ask how we can help them , and
make a plan and then… Sunday. No one.
Sorry folks, no matter how bad you want to get baptized you need to
actually go to the church you are wanting to join… Logical? I think
so. But I am patient. We keep trying and committing.

donut day

Artistic treat or donut day?

Many other lovely things happened this week. I don’t know how to
explain my whole week. Which is sad because a missionaries day is
actually very interesting to read about. My experience is rather
different than someone serving in say Nigeria, USA, Argentina, or Hong
Kong. Buuuut. It is all the Lords work. I wish I could just keep going
on different missions all over the world, I could learn every
language, try every strange food cooked by the members, wear pants as
missionary clothes or street contact in a giant city with enormous
high rise buildings that touch the sky. I could get to know all
people, and come to love even more than I do all cultures. I could do
service projects in a swampland, or translate a sacrament meeting into
sign language, talk with people who already know tons of Mormons
because they live in a neighborhood full of them, or try to teach in
Tibet without a translated copy of the Book of Mormon. Oh my goodness
the possibilities are endless. I mean I would not trade my mission for
the world. But what I am saying is all over the world, missionary work
is uncomprehendingly amazing.

And the work of Him who gives us life.
And part of a perfect plan with a happy ending if we choose it.

How are you doing with your part?

To close I just want to give my testimony that Jesus Christ knows all
our pains, he understands our struggles and every time we cry out he
is there. He performed the atonement that we might not be alone. So
weather our pain is deep and penetrating like the loss of a loved one,
or something more for the all days, like a habit we want to break, or
keeping our words and thoughts cleaner, the pain from a life saving
seatbelt burn from a car that stopped to fast, or not know exactly
what you want to do with your job, child, investigators, lack of clean
water, choosing a major, broken heart, testimony, loneliness… He is
there that you may not face it alone. Take advantage of this blessing.
He will wipe away your tears. He will not leave you comfortless.

All my love,
Sister Calee Gardner

package

Package from home