Sunset By the Mississippi

This week marked the beginning of putting my hair up in to 1840’s hair styles every night. I am glad to say I got a lot of good practice from doing Christmas Carol because it is exactly the same. Well, that is to say, the hair is the same, but the humidity and the vast amounts of sweating I do make it a little more difficult out here in Illinois.

I am feeling so happy every day, There are hard bits every day, but then I feel good too. We have finally been able to start talking with visitors who are coming! Last night we had our opening night for Sunset by the Mississippi. It is a great show, but there are literally only about 7 minutes when we are changing shoes and costumes that we are not on stage. I am excited to see how my body handles a whole summer of this high energy. But I feel good, I feel stronger. the promise may 2017

Unfortunately, my voice is still just trudging along. I no longer feel sick, but my tone and range is shot. I am so sad. I have felt worried, and wondered why God would let this happen when he was the one who called me to be a performing missionary. I was pondering this during my scripture study one night when I read in Nephi 16. This is the part where the bow breaks and everyone is starving. God called Lehi and his family to leave. They were obedient and did as they were asked. They worked hard and followed the directions of the liahona, but despite their valiant behavior they still where faced with suffering and affliction. I was reading how they began to murmur.

And I realized, even though I was trying to wait it out and be strong and not worry, I was murmuring. I need to learn to be humble. I need to find away to make things work, even if I am having to make a different bow than I am used to. Even if it is course and made of wood rather than steel. I know that it will still serve it’s purpose to bring light and salvation and needed nourishment to my loved one and those I serve on this mission. I cannot promise that my voice will be as clear as it has been in other performances, but I know just like Nephi’s wooden bow, it will serve its purpose by the gift of the Holy Ghost. the promise may 2

We have had a choreographer here with us, he is really good and has worked with lots of big professional artists. He is a member of the church, but it was simple to see that the world was taking its toll on this son of God. I felt the prompting that we needed to write in a Book of Mormon for him. All of the YPM’s writing their testimonies and favorite scripture along with a thank you note in the back. as the time has progressed, we have seen him change and feel the spirit. And yesterday after watching The Promise, he had been crying and told us that he felt like he had been re-baptized and now had the courage to go back on a good path and return to his closeness with God. We saw how the spirit of Nauvoo brought to remembrance the things that he knew but had started to forget. I presented the Book of Mormon to him at his little good bye meeting we had. nauvoo singers

I don’t know what is in store for him, but I do know that he was mean to be helped by the missionaries of the 2017 YPM’s. I could talk about so many wonderful conversations I had yesterday with visiting families. But just know that the missionary work is alive and well here along the Missississippi.

Patience

“Patience- the ability to put our desires on hold for a time- is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and at times, bitter. Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace. Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. it means being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon  (us), even as a child doth submit to his father. ” Ultimately, patience means being “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord” every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our live and heighten our happiness. ” -Deiter F. Uchtdorf

nauvoo 5 21I found this quote yesterday when i was feeling really worried about the state of my vocal cords yesterday. it is still getting better, but i feel helpless to repair my most beloved tool. But I know in my heart the Lord is striving to help me grow.

That being said, i have grown a lot this week. We have learned so much choreography. It has been really exciting, but we have sweat so much. When I was not put into some of the featured dance groups I felt a little frustrated, But then I thought about why I was here, and I realized again that it is not my place to worry about when or how much i am dancing. I am still able to contribute mountains through my character I can portray on the stage. carriage ride 5 21

We have a new revamped show for Sunset by the Mississippi, There is lots of new music and choreography. My favorite part is the little bit of tumbling and jumping on the bed I do for ” Grandma’s feather bed”

We open our shows on Saturday. The promise is going well. I love the story I get to tell. I know that this character is an in important part for me to have. It is the way I can share my testimony with the audience. I can put all my feeling into it. I hope that all those who see the show will feel the truth of my words.

I am exhausted at the end of each day. I am loving it though. I love to be always dancing,  singing, and working and then underneath is all is this fueling power of my calling.
I will just end with a  few highlights.
*I got a story sent to me by my mother. The story was so touching to me, many of the difficulties my ancestor faced are portrayed in the promise and then I was able to go with a small group during a music rehearsal to sing in the still and the silence of the historic cemetery knowing that I had an ancestor buried there. we sang here 5 21
*Something funny we have been dealing with this week is the hideous rehearsal slips. They are all white but ill fitting and sweaty, we have to wear them over our rehearsal shirts and sweats. They do not flatter anyone.

*Most nights we gather in the visitors center around the Christus statue and we all get the opportunity to share our thoughts from the day. I love hearing what everyone is feeling and then singing together and kneeling in prayer.
*When we first got here I suggested to the stage sisters that we choose a Christlike attribute to work on each week. Last week was faith and this week we chose virtue. We are going in the order of D&C. We are all figuring out how to work along with each other, but I already feel this closeness and love. It is so different living with so many women, but I love it too. Which surprises me. singing rehearsal
*Elder Zwick of the seventy came and surprise visited us. He told stories about President Monson, and said we should read the Book of Mormon while we are here.
It is so funny how close I feel to my mission. I have been wanting to speak in German more and more.
Well, time is up! Love you!

rehearsal 5 21

With the Temple in View

(a note from Sister Gardner’s mom.  There was a bit of a problem with the email when she finally had a chance to email home. She was not able to open her account and ended up sending her letter with another email. So, don’t feel bad if you wrote and didn’t get a response. She hasn’t been able to open or read anything sent to her yet.  Snail mail works great. Hopefully it will get worked out soon so she knows we are writing her. Thanks for you support.)
From the green Mississippi riverside I send you a hello from Sister Gardner.

Within a week so much has happened.

One overwhelming feeling I have is that God has put this cast together and he is the one fueling the amazing progress we have made. I have never been in a show where we were given the script, parts and music and then performed it the first time through, from beginning to the end, in three days. We have learned so much music and blocking and  now even dancing within this time.

companion Sister Meikle

Sister Gardner and her companion Sister Meikle

I suppose I should start from the top.  Nauvoo is wonderful. It is fun to see this place that I came to as a child and to know that now I am part of the experience that I had while there. I see all of the missionary force here. The Seniors and the Visitor’s center sisters. I feel this connection to them all. I love to see the similarities of my mission in Austria to this one here. I still get to talk with people if I put myself out there and I was even able to give out a copy of the Book of Mormon and get and email from someone to send her missionaries while at the Airport in St. Louis. I felt that familiar confidence when you are inviting someone to read the Book of Mormon for the first time. It was so wonderful.

I am serving with Sister Miekle as my companion. She is also from Utah, and is studying musical theater at UVU. She is so great. We have been bonding a lot and I love having her around. I am going to switch to bullet points because I have literally seven minutes .

  • I have been given the responsibility to drive the 12 passenger van. Wow that was a little scary at first but I am getting the hang of it and I help to keep everyone on time for when we need to leave for various rehearsals and meetings.
  • We basically live in the theater in the visitors center which is where I feel right at home. I actually really like it. It it is like being in shows like I love, but  I know that I am doing it for God so it is even better and more focused.

    Rehearsals

    Rehearsal of the play  “The Promise”

  • They have already cast all of the shows. I am so excited to have been cast as  Julia in the  “The Promise” She is the girl in the love triangle, so I am excited to be portraying such a wonderful faithful character. It means I have lots of lines to learn and many chances for little solo parts.
  • The hardest part about this week has been losing my voice completely. I have been on vocal rest since Tuesday/ The day they announced the casting.  It started to ago a way and then I could not sing anything in my high range. I got a blessing finally yesterday and it is starting to get better. It has been good because it made me listen and have to exercise faith in God. I know that it happened so that He could teach me.

    first temple trip

    First Temple Trip

  • I love being a missionary again. So even if there are hard things that push me and times when I do not feel adequate to perform this role or to perform as a missionary enough, He can comfort me and lift me. I love the fact that I get to reach out to so many people. I am not perfect and I am realizing more and more my shortcoming, but I feel God is molding me just as before.
  • I love Nauvoo it is so green and beautiful.   Sister Miekle and I got stuck with the single bedroom in the basement, we felt a little sad at first, but it has turned out to be a blessing , because we always get to talk and it is  the coolest room in the house.

Pray for my voice. I love you guys. Sorry this email is so short. I hope we can get it all figured out so that I can actually receive emails from all of you. Thank you!

-Sister Gardner

Where two or three are gathered in my name… There shall I be in the midst of them. The midst of them that love me.

ice cream in Nauvoo

Ice Cream with the Sisters

We didn’t get a mothers day phone call, but this beautiful song and picture sent were perfect.

BUCH GROUP (6)

Save

Save

Sister Gardner Strikes Again

I am sure many of you thought that sister Gardner would write no more. But to my amazement and general jubilation, the missionary journey will continue! If you recall music was a crowning joy on my mission. I used music to touch the hearts of those I taught and to reach closed up hearts. I would like to announce that I have been called to serve as a Nauvoo Performing Missionary for this summer. I will be set apart Thursday and then Friday morning I am flying out at 5:45 in the morning.

It has been an interesting time coming back. I dove right into school again. I have been on stage again, singing and dancing. And now I have officially been accepted into the Acting Program at my university. I am trying to keep following God’s plan for me even though at times I wonder how exactly he  is planning on me using these talents in the long run. I am therefore very glad to have this opportunity to bear my testimony through song and dance.

Nauvoo, for those who are not aware was used as a gathering place for the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There was a thriving city and even a temple built on the banks of the Mississippi River. If you would like to know more about it check out the website : http://www.historicnauvoo.net/

I went there years ago and was so impressed and touched by the performers, the history, and of course the fireflies. So I am excited to be returning.

The audition process for this mission was already such a spiritually uplifting experience. I sent in my video and was then invited to attend a callback in Salt Lake City. I left early that morning filled with anticipation. I listened to the tabernacle choir as I drove, the sun rising in east up over the mountains as I drove along the freeway. I was filled with such peace. I remember going into the church building where the callback was held feeling that whatever happened the wonderful experience on the drive over might have been the only reason  was called back.

We had a marathon of singing. I loved hearing all the talented performers the entire chapel was filled with melodious voices. The audition continued throughout the day, measurements, choral singing, reading of slides (a section of a script), and an interview with the directors. It felt like a lovely musical theater themed zone conference just like on my mission. I felt so happy.

A few days later I received the happy news that I would be serving as a performing sister and I have been looking forward to it since December.

I am excited to see how I will grow and improve as a missionary and performer over the summer. I know that I will be able to dedicate these performances to the lord.

“But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”

-2 Nephi 32: 9

…The most beautiful thing about all of this is that I will be able to be sister Gardner again! So I hope you will enjoy these next few months as Sister Gardner is Astonishing along the Mississippi.

And in the End…

This is the last note I wrote home to my family before they flew to Munich to pick me up, it remained archived during the hullabaloo of me coming home, enjoy…

I have been putting off writing this email. Honestly, today was the first day I actually went through and emailed all my old companions because I was putting off this one. But then I thought, just because it is the end. Does not mean that this writing will come to an end. The story of these people is not over, there is still more to be told. I will never be done telling the story of my mission to the Alpine German speaking mission. So for anyone who wants to keep listening my heart, and experiences are there for those who need them.

I was thinking about the Word End.

Ende. Das Ende. We come to a lot of ends in our life. the end of the line, end of the string of spaghetti, the end of a relationship, the end of a book, the end of the corn maze, the end of our ropes, the end of a vacation, end of an awkward stake dance, the end of a very nice ice cream cone, end of a sickness , the end of a documentary of the migratory patterns of north Atlantic seabirds in the 21st century, or at least the end of the stairs. you follow what I am saying.

I think that everyone has been arguing that It is the end. for me. yes true. I am down to a few day. ( luckily the traveling around the mission for a week lets me wear this badge a bit longer, (muwhaha) But the time is coming to an end.

This fact has been a dark rain cloud over my head for the past week. It was fine during the day, but at night still just driving me crazy… So Thursday morning I wake up with this feeling like, ok, enough is enough. So I decided to be happy. There is this Mormon message that I love, It is called “Men´s Hearts will fail them” It basically talks about an apostal on a plane that is on fire diving out of the sky. on lady across from him is screaming and crying hysterically. He says, ” I was calm, I was totally calm, even though I knew I was going down to my death , I was prepared to meet my maker” I just made me think on my situation. I thought, why on earth am I being the screaming lady on the air plane? Ha ha, it made me chuckle a bit, but then also made me think. I have peace. I can be calm because I can trust that my maker has a plan. Anyhow in the video the plane does not crash, and the end image is him sitting there will a copy of the book of Mormon in his hands. The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. Proof that he was there. If I can put the gospel of Jesus Christ into my life, if I am really letting it work, then I can trust in my future… and even this end that is coming.

I want to talk a bit about my week as well. I felt blessed to have a good week, lots to do, lots of appointments, lots of teaching. a lot of music, and a little bit of cake, and Peruvian chicken.

Helen was just a little name written on a blue card in blue ink found from and elder flying home that day at the airport. Helen is actually a mom with two kids and a husband who is now wanting to meet with us to learn everything about the church and also have us give her two little boys English lessons. She said. “I really want to come closer to Jesus Christ, can you help me with that?” …………. Does my name tag have Jesus on it. yes.

When it is raining often people don´t want to stop and talk on the street. But sometimes you teach a whole restoration lesson with someone in the park, and then in the end you get to give them your umbrella and you see them later walking around with that. I think that was a nice moment this week. One little yellow plastic portable ten given out, one yellow pamphlet with Jesus Christ on it. Two umbrellas to protect us from two different types of projectiles… Think Heleman 5

We saw heroic acts of missionary work from our tiny Italian ward missionary who came with us and helped us go finding. She stopped them and then I was able to ask our question. It was really fun, I have never had a member who wanted to go finding with us, That was a miracle.

We taught someone about the basic beliefs of the church using crude stick figure drawings, (me), google translate ( Elder Wright), a worn out whiteboard marker, (Sister Pugh) and some good simple questions, (Elder Mateer) I think that despite the language barrier, we where able to make some really great progress with one of our new contacts we found this week.

Sylvia is making progress. She made us potatoes this time when we came, and showed me her spice box from India. She will be baptized someday soon, she makes progress every week. She had been saying last week she did not feel answers to her prayers. This week she let us know that she had woken up with a terrible ache in her jaw, she had knelt down prayed for the pain to go away and she said she could feel it starting to fade as the prayer ended.

I have felt a lot of love from members and part member families this week, and I am grateful for that. I was worried no one would remember me here, but I have been glad to see that I have made a difference, and if anything pried open a few doors that where sealed tight as can be. I can only hope the seedlings planted will grow through the further work of other missionaries.

I loved having our mini fireside about the life of Jesus Christ. It was by no means perfect, quickly put together with not many visitors, but it was just what was needed of the people who did attend. I am grateful for the many ways we can share the gospel, for the i pad that hold videos, music, music, notes and scriptures in all kinds of languages.

I am grateful for the happiness I see from members who live the gospel. I mean I would rather keep being a full time missionary, but life seems to be pretty good for those guys too..

On Sunday we played piano for sacrament meeting in the third ward, and then I gave a talk about honoring your father and mother in sacrament meeting of the 1st ward. We had two guys show up to church randomly, potentials, which was great, and then Lucho and Sylvia came. It made us so happy when we opened the door of the Spanish Sunday school class and we see Lucho in there from the back. ‘As I looked out at the ward, I could not help but feel sad, They still need so much support, I just want to keep healing these people and bringing people back to the church.  or to the church, or their spouse to baptism. It all has it´s time. I am just another paint stroke in the master piece.

In my talk, I mentioned how during my mission, I have strengthened my relation ship more with my heavenly parents than my earthly ones simply because I have been with them less than my Father in heaven and I have spoken, but as I went on, the rest of the thought formed it´self as it came out of my mouth. Because my relationship with my father in heaven is stronger, my relationships with my earthly family can be strengthened as well. I suppose I will find out just how far that works out when I get back, but i have confidence. 😉 Í also mentioned how obedience is really the way we can honor our Heavenly parents. our performance here on the earth is not simply for our benefit, and it does benefit us greatly, but it is also a chance to show them we love them.

I did not get to share my testimony with the Zone, and I don´t have time to write down the whole thing, but I hope you can see a bit, from these words I have written today, from the words I wrote last week, and in Graz and after a bike crash, and during the winter, and when I came into England, and when I said goodbye to good friend, and when I was excited and when I was sad, and when I just was probably singing too much. .. ‘And I hope you will continue to see them.

I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, That is Son is our Redeemer, and The Holy Ghost can bring that knowledge to our hearts.

That is it really, actually, all the other things just fit in with the basics. I don´t know how to write how much I love this gospel or my time as sister Gardner… It is astonishing really.

I love you, And you will hear from me again. .. So this is not goodbye…

rather. Bis aufwiedersehn.
All my love, Sister Gardner

It’s the Grand Finale to the Greatest Show on Earth

It’s the Grand Finale to the Greatest Show on Earth

Six thirty, alarm clock goes off. Some mornings I am more prepared for
that than others. Sometimes my eyes open minutes before the alarm. I
close them reminding myself I still have a bit of time to sleep. Get
out of bed, punch in the code on the i-pad Jesus holding a lamb greets
as I close the flap on the iPad cover and crawl half away back up the
latter. Now I pray.
It was not until the mission that I ever got this habit down. Praying
for help at the start of the day and not just after everything took
its course seems like a logical option.

Of course my brain has been going through a roller coaster of feelings
and emotions, memories made and remembered.  Talking with people,
teaching, keeping a temper, being humbled, discovering weakness. And
also weaknesses made strong.
domes
You know Munich was an essential part of my growth here. It shows me
the importance of keeping up with the covenants I have made, not
getting lazy, not letting scripture study or prayers or church
attendance slack. Not making excuses. I also realize that often being
obedient or preaching repentance, even if it is with love does not
make you a popular person. Only those who understand the worth of the
message and are willing to be disciples of Jesus Christ will
appreciate what you are doing.

I think on Jesus Christ. Who taught with the most love and Boldness of
anyone on this earth. He was beaten and killed, along with the
apostles who followed him, while trying to help people be protected
from their own self destruction of sin. It is all a labor of love, but
some cannot see it as such. That is why we always invite people to
find out for themselves. To kneel down and ask their father. It is not
between us and the church and the teachings, and whatever the relief
society president or sunday school teacher thinks is right, or even me
as a missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ. It is between them
and God.
street
Well. Those where some of my thoughts. As I am drawing to the end of
my ministry among the people of Germany and Austria,Ii am finding
myself not plagued with regrets but rather a sadness that it cannot
continue. I am not good at goodbyes.

But amid all these thoughts inside my heart and head I want to let you
know about some of wonders that have been happening this week.

At district meeting I was assigned to talk about how we can develop
the faith for miracles. I studies a lot for this assignment and was
able to find great scriptures, quotes and even a video segment. I
asked my distrikt if they had the faith to have two baptisms in our
distrikt, (one for our distrikt and then the zone leaders) we then
went into the other room and all kneeled down then I prayed and asked
God to please help us achieve this goal.. It was very spiritual and I
prayed with the most faith I could. This week we set two baptismal
dates. It was miraculous.
smiles and flowers
We had a great member come a long to help teach S who is our
sweet older woman preparing for baptism. Her house is often smokey
when we come, we are trying to help her give up the cigarettes. She is
so great though, every time we come the light in her eyes is brighter,
and her house if filled with photographs and interesting statues from
her travels to different lands. She shared that she had not been
feeling the same peace that she used to. We followed up a bit more and
she has not been reading daily or praying daily. I felt the power of
the Holy a ghost as I was able to promise her that if she would take
ten minutes to read and study and ponder each day she would find that
peace again.
I extend that challenge to you, set a time, get rid of distractions.
Have a notebook and pen to write down thoughts, and read. Study. Write
down questions. Study for a topic. Let yourself find the answers and
feel peace.
The member shared his whole conversion story and it goes to show that
the atonement, that Jesus Christ can help people come to an
understanding of their life.
street
We had a funny things happen. We had met a great potential on a s
bahn. He was really interested and took two pamphlets. We went to meet
with him after church with a Ward missionary. He had just finished
work. We sat down by a fountain to show him the Book of Mormon. But he
was acting very strange, so much different than when we first met him.
He puts his hand in the fountain his arm is around my shoulders
resting on the fountain. I scoot forward thinking he does not notice
what happened. Happened again, we are still explaining, he is asking
strange questions. He tried again. This time his whole sleeve gets
wet. I squish closer to sister Pugh. Finally he is leaning past the
normal space bubble. Yes something definitely wrong… I finally smell
the alcohol. Some church’s like to party…
Finally I just stop him. Alright, I think it would be best to have
this conversation another time. Ha ha. He tries to hug me before we
go, put up the hand and we all leave. It was pretty funny. We were
trying to reassure out joint teach that he had had a lot of potential,
she was just laughing her head off. But she knows it did him good. I
am glad she came, she was the best person that could have been there.
Also we had a Ward family home evening… Guess who kicked the soccer
ball into the fast moving stream going though the park…. Yeah. And
guess who goes chasing it all through the park until a swimmer fishes
it out, our GML still in his work clothes. Ha ha. It was pretty funny.
museum
airWe showed the restoration film twice this week, once in Spanish, once
in Italian. I am always so amazed everything I watch it not matter
what language. I feel the truth of it’s message. Having a testimony of
the restoration makes everything fit together. I am so glad to have
the spirit confirm the truth to me.

Sylvia asked me what is a testimony. I said something like… A
collections of beliefs that you just think are true, but rather ideas
and truths you have tested and found out to be true through the power
of the Holy Ghost. I think we underestimate the power of prayer. We
need it. It brings peace to troubled souls, clarification  to those
confused which way to go, and everyone as they work to find their way.

in honor of those killed

In honor of those Killed in the shooting.

Well. I have said a lot. I hope something I said brought you at least
something to think about. I’ve got lots of stories for you all. But
unfortunately there are only so many minutes in email time.

I am going to sprint  to the end. I thank you for your prayers at this time.

All the best.
Love, sister GardnerKonigs Platz 3Konigs Platz

Ubahns and Miracles… Among other things

Dear Son or Daughter of God Reading this email.

Stop. . no don´t stop reading… Just stop for a second.

Look around at your surroundings. Maybe you like them. Maybe not. Maybe there are many people, maybe a few. Maybe just you.. Not alone, maybe you should pay a bit more attention to the one trying to talk to you. My words can wait…

Close your eyes… ok, now hopefully you have opened them and are still reading. Or if you have started a sudden nap I do hope it is not an inconvenient time and that if it does work out you enjoy it.

how was that closing your eyes for a second?

What did you hear?  What did you feel?

Ok, a few things I would like to explain with this exercise.

  1. You are alive in the year 2016. You were not born some time before so that you could be on the earth at this time.
  2. You are not alone, hundreds of thousands of onlookers in the preexistence and spirit world look at you.
  3. You have a body that can read, think, and Feel. At least to some extent. You can understand.
  4. What you are learning today is what you are meant to face in order to get to where you are going.
  5. Every little interaction or experience changes you in a way that might be extreme or not really noticeable. But all significant.
  6. You are a son or Daughter of God.
  7. This earth life is a mere moment on a vast span of never ending.
  8. You are doing better than you think, but you could be doing better than you are.
  9. Sometimes it is nice to close your eyes for a second.
  10. Think about it, what did you take out of that.

I think I started thinking about this as I look around at everything with a sort of love… Even the graffiti in the tunnel under the street makes me smile. I started tearing up just looking around our apartment. My missionary Apartment in München… Which I live in because I am a missionary.

Honestly, I cannot even express or put down in to logical words what doing this work means to me.

I can´t.

I promise I will keep trying. Of course.

I will try for you, for my family… for a blog or a journal, for my dreams or my heart. For my children or grandchildren, or husband, or person on the street that I stop to tell them about the purpose their Father in Heaven has for them… That he loves them..

He loves you ok.

Do you understand.

Do you really?

Honestly. He loves you no matter if you are sitting in a closet right now reading it, or somehow after just breaking into someone’s house. He loves you. Just get it. Let it into your mind. Let it change you.

My heart is really full writing this. I can´t explain.

district lunch

District Lunch: Sister Pugh, Sister Gardner, Elder Gibson, Elder Clark

I just think I will give you a bit of what I was up to this day. My throat has one of those stuffed up choking feelings in it, like when you swallowed too much water at once, or you are trying not to cry. Probably the second one. I am so glad I am blessed with so much to have happy tears about.

This week, honestly was not perfect. Things fell out, the most carefully planned… could not be executed but I think what makes any week on a mission worth it is the little miracles that happen and all the times you don´t sit down and call it quits.

so let’s take a little stroll down miracle lane eh?

 

lady bug

A little guy with places to go

Monday: We went and visited M a sweet, sweet woman who speaks mostly just Spanish and a few words of German. I Sister Calee Gardner attempted to sing for someone in Spanish and sat at a computer with the slowest internet connection in the world to try and book mark LDS.org in Spanish so this woman could see she is not the only woman striving to live the gospel. I think what really did it though was her just expressing in the sweetest most broken German that she really had no idea what we were saying. But she could feel it… and that is exactly how the Holy Ghost works. But I throw in my extremely microscopic vocabulary of Spanish, she throws out her German. The holy Ghost makes it possible for me to understand exactly what she is saying even though I understand close to nothing coming out of her mouth.

Dienstag: V, one of the people in our English class made our miracle for Tuesday.
Everyone was supposed to bring a picture and then explain about it a bit. he brings a picture of many people holding hands, with the word friendship written across the top. He goes into this description about how we are really all brothers and sisters if you think about it and we should love people no matter where they come from and what they do. Then we play story cubes to practice further in my part of the English conversation class, and the story ends up being about all of the English class going to a native American pow wow, which led them to asking questions about the meaning of life within the English class… Which then resulted in one copy of the Book of Mormon leaving my hands after class ended…and entering into the hands of V.notes

Wedtvolk: This was a miracle for me. We had a visiting return missionary who used to serve in Munich and Graz during her mission come visit. We met her when she came to visit a less active in the third ward at the same time we where there. She ended up riding with us, and gave me a lot of good perspectives about what it is like finishing a mission, and how she still loves it. It comforted me a bit. I think when I come back here I would love to tag along with the sisters again. If I lived here, it would be for that.

Donnersday: No problem, the part member family you have been trying to get in contact with since you came is home when you take the 45 minute bahn ride to get out to them. Just praying they will be there when you ring. Recommit papa to take the lessons… from the sisters. Sounds like a miracle to me.

Frieday: This one gets two. One for our mutig member J who took the courage to give out two copies of the Book of Mormon to her co-workers.. That is after decorating it with stickers and pictures of Jesus.. Whatever gets it done my dear…. Second. Setting two baptsimal dates for our new friends who will be taught by the elders in the international ward. We will find them and get them set up to prepare for baptism… You teach them ok? I am glad I got to be part of that little miracle.

flamingo

This sign just made me laugh

Saturtag: This is the day that look like it would not have any miracles. Canceled appointments, left I-pads, defensive crying less actives…. and to end it a wrong address after a hour and a half travel time… and then we missed the bahn home…. But then came the little tender mercy. Who should appear on the gleis as we waited for our next train home. But the Orbegroso Family! L, and his wife and son! We were so happy to see them, and he had been reading the chapters we assigned him, and they stayed and waited with us and rode the train with us… She hugged us. They make us feel like we are super heros or something. I like that. I need to see these people all in white standing in front of a temple… They deserve it.

Sonday: M came to church for the first time in years! It was raining and  the third hour of church is about to come. We head of to walk to her house. We wait at the door of the apartment building. Just when it seems like this master plan will fall out. She comes bustling out of the front door still trying to tie her shoes laces. She came to church. She took the sacrament. And S made it to church, and L with his family.. and one of our investigators who has not been able to meet with us since I got here, and has not come to church in three months. They all came.

So I suppose Sunday just was the icing on the cake.

I have started the Book of Mormon again this week… Studying about patience. Goodness, the first book of Nephi has a lot of that. ….the lion

So when you are feeling impatient remember you might not fully understand until more than 2,000 years later…

“Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should makes these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people….. Wherefore the lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.´”

I want to close this email this week with one more scripture..

1 Nephi 9: 6

” But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning, wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men, for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. and thus it is. Amen.”
And Thus it is. Amen.
Love you,

Sister Gardner

do you

Well, do you?

Ten Minutes

Ten minutes to write down the results of a week of life and experiences and hundreds of people and interactions and sideways glances in passing at a little black badge representing something far greater than the person writing this all down.

 

I finished the Book of Mormon this week. In German. I was worried I would not get it done in time, but I did it, which was a goal of mine during my mission. It was a beautiful moment, because I really realized that I was able to get just as much spiritual strength and learning form it as when I read it in German. I mean of course it is at a different depth, but I love it. I love the process.

hi

I remember sitting on my couch at home with my friend, I was marking my scripture mastery, he was studying a script. That book of Mormon in German was given away long ago. But I remember trying to read that first chapter. I got to the I Nephi of Goodly parents and that was about it.

When I read it I feel the spirit. I understand the stories, and I feel of their truth.

Ich weiß dass Das Buch Mormon wahr ist. Ich wieß Das es uns helfen kann, neher zu Jesus Christus zu Kommen. Es ist ein Zeugnis dass er wirklich da war, Dass er Leute geholfen hat und das er kennt uns. Wenn Mann in Das Buch Mormon liest, und diese tut, mit ein offen Herz wird Mann wissen das Gott liebt sein Kinder.reflections

I just want to close this short, short email by telling about a certain experience we had this week.

Last week, we stopped a lady on the street, we had five or so minutes before our next appointment and I just stopped her to use the time as best I could.

We talked to her very briefly, but the conversation ended with her giving an address so we could come by and bring her a Book of Mormon.

The day comes. We take it on by she accepts it smiling and we make a new appointment because she does not have time to talk about it.

Well this week we had our second appointment. She welcomes us in and then begins to explain. How when we left last time, as the door closed she just started to cry, and remember a dream that she had had a month or so ago.

butterfly

She dreamt that two young woman where going to come to her and teach her about God. The spirit was so strong as she shared this and she started to cry. I know that God prepares people always everyday to hear the message of the restoration. I know that he loves his children. He knows them. He is so aware of us.

 

pray for Germany

Pray for Germany

This last week as many of you may have heard there was a shooting in Munich. As I contemplated on the lives that where lost, finished the book of Mormon with the record of millions of lost lives, and today walked on the grounds of the concentration camp only a city or so away from where I live. I contemplated a lot about the souls that die. Not in an overly morbid way, but just thinking about it. It is of course part of the plan of salvation.

 

Dachau

Dachau Concentration Camp

dachau 3

dachau 2dachau 5I thought about the scripture in Alma 40:11… It talks about the state of spirits after they die… “are taken home to that God who gave them life”… Everyone is going to get to go back to his arms. We will all be able to see a father that we love so dearly but have not seen for so long. That is what can bring us comfort in times when we see the world becomes more and more evil.

dachau 4dachau 6

dachau 7dachau8dachau 9dachau 10I am still loving this work. I am living and breathing it, and trying to hold on to every chance I can. We are working hard and giving our best. It is not perfect, our work, But through Christ’s atonement we get better every day.

Just in closing. I also wanted to mention the excellent Tausch I had this week with sister Abram. It was so great to work with this woman who is in the same place as me, One foot in the grave another on the banana peel. It helps me remember all that I have learned all that I am learning… and all the many millions of thousands of things I am still going to learn. …

Well. Folks. I suppose I leave you there.

The song of the day seemed to be Have I done any good in the world to day…

So. Sing it through and then do some gooooood.

 

All my love,

Sister Gardner

 

 

 

they came to get us

Being Saved by the office Elders

 (from Mom) Answers to a few questions I asked her:

Tell us about the terrible shooting? where were you? What has the atmosphere been since?

Luckily we were at the very end of one of the subway lines on the other side of Munich. We had been at an appointment and stopped for a bite to eat instead of going to the main bahnhof to eat. We went down to take an s bahn to head to the church and there was just a loud speaker repeating down in the station that the police had shut down all public transportation. U bahn, s Bahn, buses and Straßen Bahn. All public transportation. By talking with people we start to figure out what is happening. I call the zone leaders to ask if there was any word from president. Everyone seemed shocked and confused and scared. Everyone was on their phones calling family members or taxis. The zone leaders said there had not yet been an order to go home. So we were trying to figure out how we would get there. But then we realized here was no logical way we would be able to get there and we looked how long o would take to get home by foot. Four hours, according to the map. Well that was obviously the worst case scenario. So we just start figuring out how to go straight home. We walk away from the station a block or so and find a taxi, but he is in his break so he won’t take us. We have called our GML for ideas how to get home. We try to look at buses because there were a few running, but not going through Munich. The taxi line was busy, and of course it was because basically everyone was on their phones trying to call them. Anyhow. That is not working. We call the senior couple in Munich they are willing to help but waiting for a visitor that was supposed to be coming, they said it would be an hour or so. Then this member who is super rich and takes care of all the missionaries even though he is not so active calls and asks where we are because he is going to come pick up any missionaries that don’t have a way home. Well that is fine, we get permission from president, but he is still about 45 minutes out because of the traffic of everyone trying to get home. The Hansons call us back and say that they have found a solution… Who was on their way to save us but …. The office elders. That’s including elder Maw. We have to walk a ways because they are getting through slowly. We finally find each other and then they start to drive, but the traffic is stopped on the highway and we saw probably 25 ambulances and police cars and the like. It was intense. But the elders where light hearted and we all got home safely. The next day bahnhof was empty and everyone we talked to had angst. We talked with a lady who had been there. She was so scared and we talked with a lady at the waffle stand and she was so scared to be working. And then at the little concert we helped at the music teacher asked for a minute of silence and then asked me to pray. And at church everyone mentioned in their talks and such. It really shook this city. But luckily we are the ones who bring the message of peace and we are protected. I know it.

Wir Sind kinder Gottes‏

Dear Family, Friends, Potential Missionaries, or You people who
stumbled here by accident during a rather extended internet wandering.

Welcome.

Glad you made it.

It is sunny outside about 27 degrees Celsius. We had plenty of rain
this week, but that provides an excellent opportunity for all our
umbrella street side service to the door on a Sunday morning desires
that we could have.
I dont’ know exactly what to do with two wards at one time. I know I
have got nothing on those people serving in Utah with like three
stakes and a temple and a petting zoo, but it is something really new
for me. When I got this call I was thinking just Munich 1 but it is a
lie, and now we are singing in Munich 3’s Ward conference next week.
Freut Mich. and running up and down stairs to go to different sacrament
meetings and relief societies and trying to make sure we don’t forget
anyone.

Tubingen crew 1

Tubingen Crew back together in Munich

 

The week was good. Despite having two wards, our pool of progressing
investigators is very small, so that has been my goal this week and we
were able to find so many new people to teach. It was great. I love
that moment of stopping someone on the street and just teaching right
then and there. It is a beautiful feeling, to stop someone and
literally explain the importance of your message. Saying, I know you
are probably on your way to do something good, but this knowledge is
more important than that. So I have high hopes for this coming week

munich city3

Town Hall

We had zone training this week. Luckily it is not yet my last one. Or
so I hope. We shall see. We got to take part in zone training by
teaching a bit about how to work with the members. We did a little
object lesson which involved partly elder Jacobi ripping paper and
then attempting to rip a hammers guide. Ha ha. The basic idea was, the
more members (pages of paper) you involved in the progress of anyone
you are teaching. The more support and protection they will have for
when hard times come. I wish it worked like that all the time. But the
general idea supports itself.munich building 5

munich building 4We also wore our dirndles so that was nice. Talking to people in the
rain with an umbrella in traditional dress. I love that we are
actually allowed to proselyte in them. The elders are not so lucky in
the lederhosen. I think I will always try to find any opportunity to
wear it.munich city 5
Munich city
I also loved hearing the testimonies of the new elders who are just
starting their missions. I am so excited for them.
I am Running out of time so… Let get to some miracles this week.

We were on our way home from Munich Hauptbahnhof, we entered the train
scouting a place we could sit and talk with people. We see a four some
with two teens, a boy and a girl about to sit down. They sit down one
on each side of the foursome. As we sit, the boy gives us a bit of a
strange look in a sort of annoyed that we chose to sit with them, the
girl as well. It takes about forty-five seconds after the train
leaves. And suddenly this girl is practically rising out of her chair
trying to read sister Pugh´s Tag who is sitting Diagonally from here.
Her eyes are big and excited. And she says in her very German accented
German “Are you missionaries? From the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints?”
I was sitting next to her and she turns to me, her face with a sort of
strange excited smile.
She tells us she is doing a project in her school about our church and
that her Uncle is a member in Texas.
I ask, ‘Well, do you want an interview?’
She goes on to explain that she is planning on watching 17 Miracles.
We exchange emails. She starts her project in two weeks. They get off
two stops later.
All of Munich. Seven different train cars that we could have gotten
on. many, many fourmans… and one companionship of Sisters in München.
God led us to her, and we did not even realize what we were doing. He
is the master Craftsman, we are just his tools.

cleaning font

Cleaning the font

That was a great Miracle.

But I think the moment I really liked this week was seeing a young
woman crying going on the up escalator. and we were on the down. It
was late and we needed to catch our s bahn. But, I had one of those
moments, where you just feel like the Holy Ghost just say. Go! so you
do. Haha. I ran back up a fourth of the escalator. (there was no one
else on it) and met her up at the top. She is crying. I ask, are you
alright? She nods. Do you need a hug? She nods again. So I hug the random girl at the top
of the escalator platform. and then I fish the roses out of my bag
that the family who´s daughter got baptized yesterday gave us for
helping to clean up. Whip out two white roses and a hallelujah video
card. Sister Pugh was also a champ scaling the opposite going
escalator.
I don´t know exactly why she was crying, she did not say, but I felt
this care for this random girl, and I felt that it was a moment where
I got to be God´s hands literally hugging this little lady. I am glad
he lets me experience things like that every day.modern munich

Interesting fact that fits in with our title for today. We are all
enlisted is the title of the song in English. But in the German hymn
book they took out anything about war or battle. The title is We are
Children of God…. Happy are we
.

I am glad that a mission can help me to change my desires. When I
desire to be more like my father in heaven and Jesus Christ, he helps
me to have the right priorities and to overcome myself. Not change or
forget who I am, what I love, but help me achieve more of the
potential my father has for me.

1. Wir sind Kinder Gottes, laßt uns dienen dem Herrn!
Fröhlich sind wir, fröhlich sind wir!
Ja, beim Aufbau seines Reiches helfen wir gern;
Zion wolln wir bauen heut und hier:
Gib deine Gaben willig und frei,
hilf deinem Nächsten, stehe ihm bei,
in deinen Pflichten sei stets getreu;
so dienen, dienen freudig wir dem Herrn!

Wir sind Kinder Gottes, laßt uns dienen dem Herrn!
Fröhlich sind wir, fröhlich sind wir!
Ja, beim Aufbau seines Reiches helfen wir gern:
Zion wolln wir bauen heut und hier!

2. Unser Herr braucht Helfer heut an jeglichem Ort;
kommt, seid bereit, kommt, seid bereit!
Helft in seinem Weinberg, zu verkünden sein Wort,
fürchtet nicht, der Herr steht uns zur Seit!
Hilf einem Freund die Wahrheit verstehn,
freu dich, an seiner Seite zu gehn,
lehr ihn, die Liebe Gottes zu sehn;
so künden, künden freudig wir das Wort!

Wir sind Kinder Gottes, laßt uns dienen dem Herrn!
Fröhlich sind wir, fröhlich sind wir!
Ja, beim Aufbau seines Reiches helfen wir gern:
Zion wolln wir bauen heut und hier!

Got to go, love you!
-sister Gardner

I Know My Redeemer Lives

Coming to you… On a Monday…. In Munich…. In a three story church building. That certainly at one point was a whole apartment building. That is painted Yellow. and lives almost across from Theresienwiese which is where the biggest Bier (Beer) Festival in the World takes place.

Fitting place to have a baptismal font, eh? Are you looking for some people who need repentance… Well. Good thing I am a missionary.

Hellbrunn Palace

Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg

music paper

This week feels like it is not actually a week long. The moment you are in a new area, the last one feels like it was a sort of dream even though on Monday you where walking on the bridge in Salzburg and now you running with a beautiful Merida look alike through Germany.

Sister Pugh

Sister Gardner with Sister Pugh

I had a great experience with the Atonement this week. As I considered choices I have made in my life, and things I have learned about myself, both strengths and weaknesses I am always amazed by the way that the Lord can shape me to something better. Without the Gospel, I would be a sad pathetic version of myself. I would be more carnal, and lazy, and quick to anger. The Gospel helps me have more peace in my life, and love in my soul. I am in no way perfect, but I know the atonement works.

I have met many new faces this week, most kind, many tired, few disgruntled, and some earnest. I have shaken probably one hundred hands, and I washed and dried dishes with happy little Hispanic ladies. I have Said goodbye and Hello, and talked with people from all walks of life on the Subway.

Oh, Missionary life, it is a fantastic Adventure. I LOVE IT

Everyone likes to bring up that it is my last transfer. Ok, yes. It is. I´ve got it, I´ve acknowledged it. But I am not going to dwell on it.

I have a lot to do. the church

Basically what happened is…

The Elders in Münich 1 are being Pink washed by us, But we are still taking care of the Investigators… and therefore Members of Münich 3, But there are also Elders in that ward. So Sort of like a 2 area 6 area book ( Munich elders area books are less organized than I would have hoped) Area.

My companion is Sister Pugh.

sister Pugh 2

Sister Pugh

She is kind, loves to tell stories. sings ALONG. Is our navigator, a good friend, from Washington…. and makes me laugh every day. I am so glad for the challenge of this last area, and that I get to have this grand adventure.

Also today I found out that it is the area that my Grandfather finished his mission in… In the same church building!!!! Wooo!blown glass

We had a wonderful lesson with a part member family. They are all members except for the Dad. AND they come originally from PERU, so I recognized the flag, and they were so excited that my little brother was there right now, and they have never been taught by sisters so I am really hoping we can soften his heart and help him make a date.

Then on Sunday we see this young woman with her little brother, we talk with her and find out she investigated two years ago, and now has decided to come back because…. she wants to GET BAPTIZED.

MLC June

MLC in Munich in June

Our GML is really cool, and it feels a little like when I first got to Wiener Neustadt with a young GML. but this time no elders. But that is a funny story. Elder Call went home this transfer, and as we were walking to the church we saw him and elder Bensig talking with a lady on the street doing the last bit of finding, and I have not seen that guy for about a year, and my face just bursts into a big smile when I realize who it was and his face gets all excited, but then he had to focus back on the lady. Ha ha.

We also got the Area book app. Oh my goodness. I am excited for the technology. But I feel like a grandma… Back in my day we carried our bibles in the granola bar box cover we made for our mini version. we brought our actual preach my gospel to district meeting… We updated the area book with our own hands and ink pens. Ha Ha

Isar river

Isar River in Munich

Over all.. things are going great. I am just enjoying the adventure.

I want to close by mentioning something I learned in my scripture study…

The idea of comparing Elder Abinidi and Elder Ammon…

Well Abinidi, he did not get to see the baptisms until after he died… Not just the end of 18 months death… and Ammon happened to get the best new member referral possible..

Both amazing missionaries. Both men spoke with the power of God and revelation from the Holy Ghost. Their “numbers” may have looked a bit different, but God knew they were giving their best, and all things happened according to his plan. in front of fountain

I am glad that I have a Father in Heaven, that I really truly can say, I believe that there is a God, that he is a person who loves us, a father, who has a son who really lived. Jesus Christ.

It is not some sort of vague Christian perspective or idea that is nice around Christmas time.

“I know My father lives, and love me to. The spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true and tells me it is true. ”

I also know that my Redeemer lives… That’s what we sang this morning.

And it is true.

Love,

Sister Gardner

Siegestor in Munich

Siegestor in Munich

Zone conf June

Salzburg and Wien Zone Conference in June