She is Leaving

She is Leaving…..

Today marks a day of changes as my companion of 5 months leaves to go on to her new adventure. It just keeps feeling like it will never happen. That she will never go and that we will just continue on like we have. Like it seems we always have. It is strange because now, even Graz and Wiener Neustadt feel like dreams. Very good dreams, and often I am gladdened by the knowledge that these dreams are of flesh and blood and I will be able to visit them and talk with them and best of all, If they can hold on, we will all be there in Heaven in the end.

Sis S and Sis G

Sister Strihavka and Sister Gardner

I think that is what will make heaven what it is, everyone you love living in peace. Well. Hopefully everyone. Ha, that is my job.  The work of salvation and the like.

I really enjoyed conference I loved bringing questions for things happening now and things that will come to pass, in the future. As the conference went along, I jotted down little notes to each.

Besides being exceptionally excited to have understand Uchtdorf, I enjoyed the words of peace and guidance delivered during the conference. Also I was glad that the woman who represent the women of the church declared everything with such boldness. I like boldness. I like unapologetic faith and declaration of doctrine. So actually I was really glad to hear that from her. I myself thought as I left from the spunky fun of JD (YW), oh no, what am I going to do in Relief society? But I think what I have realized is that it is actually how I am going to continue to be a missionary. Serving

Of course I was also extremely pumped by all the talking about helping refugees and we have been thinking of some service projects that we could do to help. It is helpful when you have a awesome ward missionary who is excited and the priceless help of a member who can speak Arabic. We are thinking of doing a garden project. I will keep you posted on this idea, but we will be looking forward to this warm weather.

Last Monday I went to a pious prayer meeting, I don´t know if I mentioned that. It was very interesting, but it sort of reminded me of a testimony, except for the different hymns we sang and the fact that all the women had to sit in the back… Hmmm. Apostate traditions of our fathers. Maybe. I am glad that the restored church of Christ gives a place for women to share and teach and inspire. I am strong, I am equal.

We had a nice visit with a part member family, the father spoke with us more than he had before and though he left for the spiritual thought, we did something fun for the kids. talking about spring flowers.

I think something I loved this week was the plan of salvation lesson we did with J and M outside using sidewalk chalk. I was pretty fun and best of all, M eventually came out and participated as well.

We had a good meeting with Familie R, the family of the exchange student. We were able to talk a little about the plan of salvation and the restoration. They are people who are going to need years and years. but we are building up this relationship. They live rather far away. But they are nice and say they would be willing to have us over again.

saying goodbye to the RS Pres

Visiting the Relief Society President for Sis S to say goodbye

I tried my best on April fools…Dyed the milk green. No one ate cereal until the next day. ha ha, I pretended to be scared and came running out of the bathroom blaming a giant bug. But I guess sister whiting saw through that really quick. I am not really a screamer when it comes to bugs more like a get a piece of paper, scoop it up and save it by letting it back onto our balcony. So I should have chosen something much more frightening. Like a call back…. Of course that REALLY would have been “inconceivable”.

conference breakfast

Sis Whiting and Sis Srihavka- conference morning breakfast

Visiting E without R there actually proved to be really good, it had been a almost a month since our last visit. D wanted me to play with her the whole time, but I tried my best to help contribute to the lesson while still winning at chess. I guess that is the good thing about a dritt, we all help to keep everyone happy. Plus I know I can trust them. E can speak better English than her husband gives her credit for. That is something that I have noticed in that sort of culture. When we were visiting the Member family that just got her a few months ago from Syria. The where baptized in Lebanon. We introduced R to them at the stake conference and then they wanted us to stop by. They made us something to eat before we had to catch our train. and the husband and wife were working together in the kitchen, the whole time. The church helps to support this idea of both man and woman working together. I just thought that was something to note. R has been taking good care of them and might have found them a house that they can move into to get out of the camp… Best of all, it would be in Rottenburg. Muwaha ha, guess who´s area that is… 🙂 We shall see.

Stuttgart  zones

Stuttgart Stake Conference

Well. I am feeling good, and I encourage you to all go watch general conference again. I know I am going to re-watch, re learn, re read as much as possible. I love the boldness and the claim of our church as the restored church of Christ on the earth.

I know that too. I know that God loves all his children. No matter their religion or feelings. He loves them. I am glad that his gospel helps us to do that too.

all my love,

Sister Gardner

stuttgart and munich zones

Stuttgart and Munich zones at Mission Tour Meeting- it was fun for her to see old friends.

My Favorite Talk from Conference

This was my favorite talk from this Octobers LDS General Conference.  I just wanted to share these beautiful words in case you didn’t get the chance to hear or read it.

A Plea to My Sisters

By President Russell M. Nelson

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

We need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices.

Dear Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund, we, your Brethren, welcome you to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We thank God for the revelations that He gives to His prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.

Brothers and sisters, when we met in general conference six months ago, none of us anticipated the coming changes that would tug at the heartstrings of the entire Church. Elder L. Tom Perry delivered a powerful message about the irreplaceable role that marriage and family occupy in the Lord’s plan. We were stunned when just a few days later, we learned of the cancer that would soon take him from us.

Though President Boyd K. Packer’s health had been declining, he continued to “soldier on” in the work of the Lord. He was frail last April, yet he was determined to declare his witness as long as he had breath. Then, just 34 days after Elder Perry’s passing, President Packer also stepped across the veil.

We missed Elder Richard G. Scott at our last general conference, but we’ve reflected upon the powerful witness of the Savior he had borne in many previous conferences. And just 12 days ago, Elder Scott was called home and reunited with his beloved Jeanene.

I had the privilege of being with all of these Brethren during their final days, including joining members of President Packer’s and Elder Scott’s immediate families just before their passing. It has been difficult for me to believe that these three treasured friends, these magnificent servants of the Lord, are gone. I miss them more than I can say.

As I’ve reflected on this unexpected turn of events, one of the impressions that has lingered with me is that which I observed in these surviving wives. Etched in my mind are the serene images of Sister Donna Smith Packer and Sister Barbara Dayton Perry at their husbands’ bedsides, both women filled with love, truth, and pure faith.

As Sister Packer sat next to her husband in his final hours, she radiated that peace that passes all understanding.1 Though she realized that her beloved companion of almost 70 years would soon depart, she showed the tranquility of a faith-filled woman. She seemed angelic, just as she was in this photo of them at the dedication of the Brigham City Utah Temple.

I saw that same kind of love and faith emanating from Sister Perry. Her devotion to both her husband and the Lord was obvious, and it moved me deeply.

Through their husbands’ final hours and continuing to the present day, these stalwart women have shown the strength and courage that covenant-keeping women always demonstrate.2 It would be impossible to measure the influence that such women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith.3

This has been true in every gospel dispensation since the days of Adam and Eve. Yet the women of this dispensation are distinct from the women of any other because this dispensation is distinct from any other.4 This distinction brings both privileges and responsibilities.

Thirty-six years ago, in 1979, President Spencer W. Kimball made a profound prophecy about the impact that covenant-keeping women would have on the future of the Lord’s Church. He prophesied: “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”5

My dear sisters, you who are our vital associates during this winding-up scene, the day that President Kimball foresaw is today. You are the women he foresaw! Your virtue, light, love, knowledge, courage, character, faith, and righteous lives will draw good women of the world, along with their families, to the Church in unprecedented numbers!6

We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!7

President Packer declared:

“We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out. …

“We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.”8

Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.

Throughout my life, I have been blessed by such women. My departed wife, Dantzel, was such a woman. I will always be grateful for the life-changing influence she had on me in all aspects of my life, including my pioneering efforts in open-heart surgery.

Fifty-eight years ago I was asked to operate upon a little girl, gravely ill from congenital heart disease. Her older brother had previously died of a similar condition. Her parents pleaded for help. I was not optimistic about the outcome but vowed to do all in my power to save her life. Despite my best efforts, the child died. Later, the same parents brought another daughter to me, then just 16 months old, also born with a malformed heart. Again, at their request, I performed an operation. This child also died. This third heartbreaking loss in one family literally undid me.

I went home grief stricken. I threw myself upon our living room floor and cried all night long. Dantzel stayed by my side, listening as I repeatedly declared that I would never perform another heart operation. Then, around 5:00 in the morning, Dantzel looked at me and lovingly asked, “Are you finished crying? Then get dressed. Go back to the lab. Go to work! You need to learn more. If you quit now, others will have to painfully learn what you already know.”

Oh, how I needed my wife’s vision, grit, and love! I went back to work and learned more. If it weren’t for Dantzel’s inspired prodding, I would not have pursued open-heart surgery and would not have been prepared to do the operation in 1972 that saved the life of President Spencer W. Kimball.9

Sisters, do you realize the breadth and scope of your influence when you speak those things that come to your heart and mind as directed by the Spirit? A superb stake president told me of a stake council meeting in which they were wrestling with a difficult challenge. At one point, he realized that the stake Primary president had not spoken, so he asked if she had any impressions. “Well, actually I have,” she said and then proceeded to share a thought that changed the entire direction of the meeting. The stake president continued, “As she spoke, the Spirit testified to me that she had given voice to the revelation we had been seeking as a council.”

My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils. We need each married sister to speak as “a contributing and full partner”10 as you unite with your husband in governing your family. Married or single, you sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God. We brethren cannot duplicate your unique influence.

We know that the culminating act of all creation was the creation of woman!11 We need your strength!

Attacks against the Church, its doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase. Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.12 We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.

My dear sisters, nothing is more crucial to your eternal life than your own conversion. It is converted, covenant-keeping women—women like my dear wife Wendy—whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.

So today I plead with my sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to step forward! Take your rightful and needful place in your home, in your community, and in the kingdom of God—more than you ever have before. I plead with you to fulfill President Kimball’s prophecy. And I promise you in the name of Jesus Christ that as you do so, the Holy Ghost will magnify your influence in an unprecedented way!

I bear witness of the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His redeeming, atoning, and sanctifying power. And as one of His Apostles, I thank you, my dear sisters, and bless you to rise to your full stature, to fulfill the measure of your creation, as we walk arm in arm in this sacred work. Together we will help prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord. Of this I testify, as your brother, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Stand Strong Wiener Neustadt, Stand Pure and Strong

Stand Wiener Neustadt, Stand Pure and Strong

Stand against the questions and hurt feelings, and misunderstood questions, stand against the pressures and uncertainties, hold on to testimony and love and look for the light in each day. I have faith in you and I am here to help you, I am the caregiver who will care while the miracle curer is away. I will bandage your wounds and sit with you on the long nights reading stories and helping you grow to love the people of back in time in the scriptures. I will take care of you, my companion and I, what ever you need.

"So, this is where we are suppose to put our bikes, I think".

“So, this is where we are suppose to put our bikes, I think”.

On our way to the middle of somewhere.

On our way to the middle of somewhere.

I love this place; it makes me so happy that I am busy with people to love and grand adventures to pull off.

I learned a lot from General Conference, sitting on the front row on metal chairs with a few Austrians quietly listening to the conference in English. I don’t know why they where in that room, the German translation is in the other room. Maybe it I had something to do with actually hearing a Prophet’s voice. This I can fully approve of and understand.

I really appreciated conference this week. I don’t know, I felt like it went by too fast. I was feeling comfortable and then suddenly we are singing the closing song. I really, really listened and I found a lot of promises in the words that where spoken. Promises that reassure me that when I open my mouth and declare, I can bring the spirit.

One thing I enjoyed about conference was being able to understand all the jokes. You underestimate that for people watching it translated.

Hurrah for old musical friends from the MTC.  Singing  with Elder Erickson.

Hurrah for old musical friends from the MTC. Singing with Elder Erickson.

This week was filled with service actually, and a trip to Salzburg for zone conference, and a Tausch (exchange) with my friend Sister Ahlm.

I worked in a garden for a few hours pulling weeds and getting the earth ready for the winter. We picked beans and made cake. I was with sister Ahlm. We told stories and avoided the stinging nettle used for tea making. I love rose bushes and speckled slugs. These were bigger than I had ever seen before. I helped E with his English homework later that week when we came in from digging a trench for Sister R and I took a break from chopping up veggies and drilled him on his political themed vocabulary. He is a good friend.

So you want to learn a language.  My stack of books.  Spanish books are now in the mix.

So you want to learn a language. My stack of books. Spanish books are now in the mix.

I loved carving pumpkins with the P’s this week. Over here in Austria the priesthood session was shown Sunday morning at the church. I helped their little girls print out and prepared their pumpkin carvings. They ran around and rolled along on roller skates.

The zone training was nice. Good to see some good friends again. One funny thing happened. We had all been given one of the two assignments to prepare a talk on; Language or Preparation day. President used random months and “oldestness” to decided who would give the talk for each topic. Guess who was born in November, and a few days before Elder Call… yep. That is me. Ha ha. I had a feeling and it was nice to share my thoughts on the topic.

Dinner with Sister Ahlm on our exchange.

Dinner with Sister Ahlm on our exchange.

Tausch (exchange) was really great. It is interesting to be a Sister Training leader now, but really often I felt like I was learning more from Sister Ahlm than me helping her. We had a good time. One highlight was teaching T again. She got a bit busy, but after meeting with her she is still so excited. Best of all her husband was also on board. Favorite quotes from that lesson are as follows:
“Yeah, but C, sprinkling is not in the Bible. We’ve got to do it like Jesus.” -T
” If you had said, 1000 members yesterday, you now have 1003.” -C

Sister Pratt and her bike.

Sister Pratt and her bike.

Well. There you go folks.
It was a good week. The church is true. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. The new apostles are awesome. Tab choir can sing! The church is a thing in Africa. I still like spaghetti. Schwester E came to conference. Uchtdorf is funny. I like being a missionary. The sky is blue and leaves are falling. Bruder C is a piano genius. I am out of time. I like to feel the spirit. It is pretty great. You are also pretty great. I am writing what I am thinking.

The Sisters and Breakfast

The Sisters and Breakfast

“She realized she was actually going to miss this strange old house with the stalker cat and her beloved great-aunt Rose” (Quote from Elder Uchtdorf’s talk in Women’s Conference)

And with that my dears, love every place you are. Love the stalker cats and happy hat-wearing ladies of your place in time on the earth right now. It is a blessing. I know that I am blessed to be in Wiener Neustadt; serving the Lord and doing my best to love. I have so many weaknesses, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Sister Gardner

Zone Conference

Zone Conference

Missionaries at Zone conference

Missionaries at Zone conference

Zone Conference

Zone Conference

A fun German version of a favorite story.

A fun German version of a favorite story.

Happy to……

Happy to……..

Be a missionary.

Dear Family, Friends and various users of the Internet.

I am glad you are there and I hope you are pushing on with strength. I hope that your trials are helping you learn and that you are looking for the good. I hope that this mixed up world is not weighing too much on you and that you are feeling the confidence of knowing your purpose and plan on the earth, on the earth and beyond.   To Infinity and Beyond!!!!!

Good Morning Wiener Neustadt!

Good Morning Wiener Neustadt!

Well with that cheesy segue; I wanted to talk a little bit about glow in the dark stars and being brave enough to take a step into the dark.

This is the basic idea of my metaphor today. You can only see the glowing effect of these planetarium moneymakers if you turn off the light. Only in the dark do they start to glow. If you choose to keep a flashlight on or the nightlight plugged in, you do not see these plastic stars in their splendor. We have to be brave enough to turn off our own light, our own way our own plan, and take faith in the way that God is leading us. I will find the scripture or talk snippet for you next week that started this idea in my head. When we rely on the way of Christ our eyes are opened to the beauty and understanding that was always there, but not yet so visible. When we trust, we see the new perspective even though initially it was terrifying to be plunged into dark. Without the dark we would never see the stars and how beautiful they are.

Austrian Parliament Building

Austrian Parliament Building

This week was good. This week was fun. Next week is another one. We worked hard and some things were hard. I saw my strengths and weaknesses, I found people who were ready, some that were not. I shared my heart; I shared Christ’s love. I worried and then was relieved. I smiled and sometimes my brow furrowed in thought. I sighed and laughed and took breaths in and out, I woke up, used my voice and heard other voices. I lived. That is what we are doing, all working at. And it is beautiful.

Does this mean it is Fall?

Does this mean it is Fall?

We did service and taught German classes, we ate pizza with new friends from Ecuador, we strengthened weaken testimonies, we reminded people of their divine heritage, we went to a birthday party. we picked up chestnuts and tried white wurst (Weisswurst). We took transportation to meet with single ladies in little dorfs (towns), we prepared people to be baptized, made phone calls, wrote notes, spoke in German, planned, dreamed and stretched. We sang. We petted little cats at a home still filled with returned missionary fire. We prayed. I did not burn the second batch of cookies.

Meeting with our Recently Returned missionary friend that is so happy to help.

Meeting with our Recently Returned missionary friend that is so happy to help us.

It was a good week, and a week that somehow was able to penetrate some of the more stubborn parts of my heart and soul and help me refocus and work to more follow the Example of Jesus Christ. Dear friends he taught us to love one another. He taught us to care.

Dinner with the WN family.

Dinner with the WN family.

This week holds conference. Wahoo! (Jumping up and down)….. and then a sudden pause. Wait a second! I watched the last conference in the MTC.

“Fame is fleeting, but the incident is forever.” -Ferb.

Ha, really cheesy quote, but basically what it means to me is just enjoy and work hard. Be glad and take care of each day as the gift it is.

I made big spirit prompted promises to W about answers he could get during conference this week. I trust in the spirit, but a few more prayers would not hurt.

All my love,

Sister Gardner

p.s. if you ever have the missionaries over, member or not, please turn off The Fairly OddParents. Though certainly charming, Cosmos´s green hair and little wand are not helpful for my focus, or the spirit.  Ha ha! I hope that one put a funny picture in your head. Well, like I said before…


New signs at the train station.  And Elder Call

New signs at the train station. And Elder Call

W and S gave us a ride home Friday night, and I forgot my sneakers from sport night in their car, I come to the church today and in the place I put my helmet are my shoes and these cookies. They are so nice to us. I am excited to get the taufe (baptism) program all typed up for him.

W and S gave us a ride home Friday night, and I forgot my sneakers from sport night in their car, I come to the church today and in the place I put my helmet are my shoes and these cookies. They are so nice to us. I am excited to get the taufe (baptism) program all typed up for him.

Little Street in Vienna

Little Street in Vienna

Theresian Military Academy : The Academy is located in the castle of Wiener Neustadt in Lower Austria. It is one of the oldest military academy in the world. The Wehrmacht installed a war school for non-commissioned officers at the castle of Wiener Neustadt. After World War II and the Austrian State Treaty which was signed in 1955 the demolished castle was rebuilt and in 1958 the military academy.

Theresian Military Academy : The Academy is located in the castle of Wiener Neustadt in Lower Austria. It is one of the oldest military academy in the world. The Wehrmacht installed a war school for non-commissioned officers at the castle of Wiener Neustadt. After World War II and the Austrian State Treaty which was signed in 1955 the demolished castle was rebuilt and in 1958 the military academy.

St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, Austria.

St Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, Austria withSister Pratt.

A Birthday party we were invited to.  Sister Pratt, Elder Chilcutt and Elder Call

A Birthday party we were invited to. Sister Pratt, Elder Chilcutt and Elder Call

Things that are Good

  1. Reading Journal entries from the MTC
  2. Birthday parties with little kids and hurriedly decorated houses
  3. A cup of my favorite herbal tea
  4. Ping pong for sport night when it was raining
  5. General conference is this week
  6. W is getting baptized
  7. We spoke German to each other all last week
  8. The guy we see all the time who knows missionaries and greets us by shouting Obama
  9. Practicing for Musical abend (evening/ fireside)
  10. Sister Pratt