Feel Free to Shout Out

“Feel free to shout out “over and under as you run.” I wind the long tail of the massive maypole ribbon around my wrist and prepare to take off to start the weaving. the stage is at a slant and the enormous lines of fabric stretch out across the whole stage. I am helping to create the beautiful dance inspired by Preston, the place of my MTC.
It was a good week, besides running and polkaing down dangerously slopped stages, we had a wonderful week of performances.

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Singing in the Visitors Center

 
It has been a focus for me this week to really recognize what does and does not bring and invite the spirit, and then change my behavior and attitude based on that. We are not perfect human beings, we make mistakes, but the important thing is how we handle the mistakes;  if we really truly try to improve from them and keep a growth mindset of learning.
This week we sang at the commemoration of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, both at the Community of Christ Church and at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were both wonderful programs. It is interesting to think how the work of this prophet has influenced so many people. you look at Nauvoo and think that it is a lovely town and everything, but the saints had no idea how this faith would spread forth across the whole world. There is still much work to be done. My grandparents and aunt and uncle came to visit with their children. She shared with me that she really feels that Nauvoo is a place of healing for me.
I think that she is right. Each day of course has its own trials and difficulties, but over all, I am feeling like I am healing from being back from Germany. I am adjusting to the realization that my whole life, through the arts, I will be able to testify of my Savior. I will be able to invite people to come to Christ.
I am so grateful for the temple here. I love going inside, but also just the beacon of light it is up on the hill.

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The Promise

Last night we had a pre- fourth of July celebration. The band played with the Nauvoo community band. They had a concert in front the of the temple. We went to watch and started talking with some families. Then we went down to the river where trail of hope ends and watched the fireworks being launched across the river in Montrose.
I love how the stories I tell in the promise become alive as I learn more about the history of this place, and the geography. It is truly splendid to see how my theatrical presentations fit in with the world I am living in. It is not just a story we are telling. it is truly what happened.

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Nauvoo Singers – Youth of Zion

We have been working on a song to sing for Nauvoo Singers. It is I am a child of God set to the accompaniment of Blackbird. I love the song and the idea created through their juxtaposition. I will try to send a recording. I love how music speaks to the people here. I also loving singing ‘Whenever”: “I know that my heavenly Father loves me” outside as the birds sing and the wind is literally rushing by. Nature is god’s theater.

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The Promise

I am filled with hope despite my insecurities of the future and my feelings of inadequacy I face daily.
As I turn to prayer and the Scriptures and most importantly to serving others, that is where I find my solace. That is where I find the strength to overcome everything I face.

All My Love,
Sister Gardner

 

There’s Something in This Place That is Different

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With the clock ticking ever closer to the half hour, I don’t have much time to write. So I will start with the most lovely miracle in the form of a story.

Once upon a time after Sunset by the Mississippi someone came back stage and said “Sister Gardner, German!” So Sister Gardner sprints gleefully away to meet the next adventure. He was visiting on a road trip with the young man who’s family years ago had welcomed a German teen into their home for an exchange program. years later, the friendship is still strong and the American is now a returned missionary eager to see the sights with his German friend.
She convinced him to stay for Trail of Hope promising that Philip (That’s the German man’s name) and I could talk after the trail. She was worried she would not be able to find them, but to Sister Gardner’s Joy, she saw him and the American friend walking up from the River. She talked with them excited to speak in the language that she so loved. She invited them to stay for the evening prayer and devotional. it was lovely to watch as her fellow missionaries shared simple testimonies of God’s love and plan. Then to her excitement and amazement the group chose to sing a song uncommon to their nightly meetings, “A Child’s Prayer”.  To her joy Elder Muncy even went and got his guitar and Sister Zamora had her violin. “A Child’s Prayer” is the only song that Sister Gardner still knew every single word to in German. So as they played, she sang along standing next to Philip. She watched as he looked to the stars and wiped a tear away from under his glasses.
This eternal investigator who had been in a town in her mission felt the spirit again after a long time. She joyfully gifted him another copy of the Book of Mormon. He said that though he was scared to accept what he knew to be true, frightened to be different than his family and accepting all the teachings, he would really try and figure it out this time.
Even in Nauvoo, I am able  to meet and teach the investigators of my Sisters teaching and serving in Freiburg in my beloved Alpine German speaking Mission.

The Gospel is true, God is Good.
Bis Aufwiederhoren.

Sister Gardner

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Nauvoo Singer singing Sweet Violets

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Sunset by the Mississippi – Orange Blossom Special with Elder Larsen

boo

“Along Came Jones” – Melodrama

Whenever I Feel the Rain on My Face

There is a big tree that grows out next to the road across from the Printing office. We call it “The Tree”. It is funny how we refer to it. It is a part of our life here. Part of serving and loving this place, of calling it home and driving and walking along those streets everyday.
The Tree now has more meaning to me as It was where I was able to spend some happy time with my family.
Because of the unique aspect of performance in this mission families are able to come visit and watch the shows. I sat under the tree on a bench after our afternoon show of Nauvoo singers with my brother. One of the Elders had let my brother borrow his guitar. He played the song we performed together a few years ago and then entertained us with his other song from Nacho Libre. I was laughing so hard. It was a good reminder of who I am and the happiness that is the plan of God. He intends us to find peace and love within our families. It is the second point of the first lesson in Preach my Gospel. “The Gospel Blesses Families”GArdner FAmily Nauvoo 2017
I loved seeing how the messages we share through our performances touched my family and the multiplicity of visitors that come. Other people’s families.
There was some rain this week and we where all set up to do Trail of Hope. I was so worried we would not be able to finish it because of the oncoming storm. I prayed with all my heart that the rain would hold off so that my family would be able to go through the whole street and that everyone would get to hear our message. The storm stayed off in the distance, the clouds so dark and ominous around us but the rain stayed far enough away. I could see lighting streaking through the clouds. It was beautiful and another one of our Nauvoo miracles.
It was hard to say goodbye to my brother there under the tree the next day, but I know he will serve the people of Spain valiantly and bring many to the knowledge of the gospel. I loved seeing him on stage with me. I loved dancing with my little sisters and seeing my parents happy. It made me think about how I get to help so many families feel that way.sweet Violets
We were wondering where to find some people during Nauvoo Singers. There was no one by the tree and it was a bit of a slow day. We decided to pray and Elder Cottam felt like we should go to the brick yard, The day before we had also felt like we should go. Anyway, We stop and sing a bit on the way, but then we get there and there is no one there. unlike last time. We are wondering what to do, and then we see this mother and father and little girl. We start singing as they approach and then they came over to us. We sang primary songs with the little girl and she was so happy. As we continued to sing and play with her a huge crowd gathered. We finished off with a big audience. In the group I saw a girl wearing a name badge. I went up to her and and said “hello Sister” She did not have a companion around and then I realized she was with her family and coming home from her mission. She had served in Missouri. I was able to put my arms around her and tell her that it will be ok.
Even though finishing my mission was hard, I realize that I have a message of peace to offer to the other full time sisters serving here. Who will be leaving. I love having the perspective I do .Carthage 1
This week after the first Wednesday show of the promise, I was standing outside greeting our audience. This girl comes up to me in tears and hugs me. She explains that she is going through a similar problem as the character I play. He boyfriend is not a member of the church and she is trying to figure out what to do. I did not know exactly what to say except, I know God love you and has a plan for you and you can do what ever it is that He intends for you. But I think that was just what she needed to hear. She said that the show really touched her and taught her.
I love when we get to sing our arrangement of the Lord’s Prayer for those who are of other faiths. I like that they are included.zions youth 2
After Trial of Hope Friday night, I went down to the river and I talked with a girl who was crying. She was so lovely. We talked about how God shows He loves us by the way He paints the sky with storms or clouds or sunsets… and as she put it… On the days he is content. A clear blue sky. She said as we parted, until we meet again.
I know that even if I don’t have all the time in the world to talk to these people, or any of the people I have known in my life, there will be time in the eternities to be together. For such is God’s Plan of Happiness.thumbnail_Nauvoo Temple

Another Nauvoo Miracle

This phrase started out sort of as a joke and has perpetuated itself a multiplicity of times. Whenever something goes right that probably should not have, the phrase “Another Nauvoo Miracle” pops out. From found granola bars to beautiful sunsets, costume malfunction repairs, and a whole myriad of escapades, Nauvoo has this way of making everything work out. It is a joke, but it is also true.

As you all know I have been struggling with my voice. On Sunday I fasted that it would get better and planned on starting a medication i had received to help it on Monday.
The next day we had the performance of The Promise. And For the first time since the day they cast the show, the high note I sing came out! I was actually able to sing the high note, it was clear and not as strong as It has been in the past, but I was able to do it. My voice has been improving since. I really believe it was a little miracle for me because of the faith and prayers and fasting… and now as it has been strengthening, the medicines of man that has helped me to work on this healing process.

I tried to make everyday this week a good day and I am glad to report that they were all good days.
I live for the times after a performance when I get to talk to the people. It is interesting. Three years ago, I would not have said that. I was not the biggest fan of talking to strangers. I love to see how my missions have helped me to progress in this area.
Sister Curtis, the director of the promise and the other shows was talking about how each show has something it testifies of. Anna Amanda: Self worth, Sunset by the Mississippi: JOY, Trail of Hope: Faith and The Promise: Jesus Christ. We don’t ever say that, but I think that is what comes across. I have loved helping to form The Promise with my own ideas. I have loved how Sister Curtis has listened to my perspectives with my character and how we have formed this show as a cast.
Something really wonderful happened Friday night at Trail of Hope.
As I was delivering my lines to the people who came down Parley Street. My mind was filled with images of my mission. People and places that I had not remembered or been able to think about. situations or lessons where brought to my remembrance. It was so beautiful. It was like finding an old journal entry. I was just filled with this enormous feeling of gratitude and joy for the service I was able to give.
I realized that since coming home from my mission I have often mourned the fact that it came to an end. I thought, oh, why would my Father in Heaven have me be finished if there was still more I wanted to give. As I stood out in the clover field after Trail of Hope, I saw thousands of fireflies. and I realized that it was not me that was giving, but rather my Father in Heaven who gave me the blessing to be there. He is the one who made it possible for me to have those memories. It is i who should have gratitude for that which he gave Me. The time and the year and the months in his service, was actually serving me. I knelt down and for the first time I really really thanked Him. For my mission in Austria. It put it in a good perspective. Nauvoo is healing me in ways I did not know I needed. I am so glad to be here and serving and singing and loving.
I invite all those who will come to Nauvoo or who study about its stories to do so with an open heart. This place changes lives.
I know that the gospel has been restored. I know that the temple ordinances are God’s gift to help us return to Him. I know that my God has a plan. And I am so grateful for that.
-Sister Gardner

 

Riverboats a Comin’ Up the Mississippi

Greeting from Nauvoo!
I have started calling people folks and I am afraid to say I have even thrown out a few “Ya’ll”s They are infiltrating my vocabulary!
This week has been so quick. I can hardly believe I am writing you again. I am always tired, but it is a wonderful feeling to be exhausted. My voice is still just taking it’s own sweet time getting better. That is really hard. But everyday I see how I am still able to bring the spirit and fulfill my duties and desires as a missionary despite my limitations.
I have had an amazing miracle this week of meeting someone almost every day who speaks German. Sister Greenwood had forgotten her tag, so I let her use mine and slapped on my German tag I had in my backpack. I was talking with a family after a performance. The kids were shy and it was not going as well as it usually does. Then the teenage daughter noticed my tag, She smiled and I was a little embarrassed because I had forgotten. Her mother comes over and she points it out to her and then her mom starts rattling off in German! She was German and also served her mission in Austria. She is from my mission. The Freiburg zone where I did not serve, but she knew all these places that I knew. We ended up talking for a good 20 minutes about her conversion and her mission and her children. All in German. It was a wonderful emotional experience. She was so glad to speak in German.
and I felt so glad that The Lord was letting me use my language in the middle of Nauvoo. I have run into people in other places too, but that was a big miracle for me. promise 4
I have loved seeing the youth groups that came in this week. It was nice to perform for a full house, and then at Sunset by the Mississippi there was a huge group from BYU I. I love doing The Promise and even though my voice is a struggle in Nauvoo singers, I love that too. Just walking around and singin for people. Or doing the little play by the tree called “Youth of Zion”
Today we will perform our first Sunday Concert. It is a new idea that I think is wonderful.nauvoo singers 2

Amid feelings of Stress and inadequacy and sometimes wondering if I fit in over here. I find that the best solutions to “old man Satan’s” brew of trouble and negativity is to serve. When I look outside myself, I am always rewarded with someone to love and inspire.
I love when we get to sing at the visitors center next to the Christus statue. I feel privileged to be able to share my testimony of Christ.
I know he is our courageous older brother, and the bringer and supplier of peace… In deed he is the Prince of Peace.
Till next week

All My love! -Sister Gardnerpraire diamond

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.

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