One Short Day

One short day in the city of Salzburg 

One short day oh there’s so much to do.

Cause we’re closing and saying goodbye now.

There’s members to visit.

We will really miss it,

But what can you do?

Yes.

As our opening song for today proclaims, Salzburg sisters area is closing. 

Shocker right? Especially because we have some really great people investigating. I feel like I felt this change happening though. Certain people leave or you lose contact, and then it is time to find more solid people. I just thought I would be staying here for it. But no, that was however the only surprise. Sister Hofmockel will be going to Linz to pink wash. ( Sister Gardner is transferring to Munich)

There now few, if any sister /elder areas in the mission. We need more missionaries. So go on a mission, so that you can come here, or you can fuel somewhere else so that they will not take them from us. Ha ha. But luckily we will be getting 14 or so new missionaries… The transfer after this one… So I will miss out. I wish I could just stay forever.

 rain 2

We spent some wonderful time with members and investigators this week.

 Just as much it is my responsibility to bring new brothers and sisters to Christ, it is also part of my call to help the members come closer to Christ and supply opportunities to do missionary work. I get to invite ALL to come closer to Christ. Whether they have never even hear of the waters of baptism, will be baptized in a few days, or those whose covenant keeping started long before my airplane landed in England. … And myself of course. And certainly other missionaries.

 salzburg 2

We had a great time with the primary /relief society missionary activity. The kids were nervous, but they did a great job, and though there was not a giant crowd, we had lots of happy smiling mama’s and papa’s, a few grandmas and some non member grandkids so j would say it was a success. And then of course our little lady R came to the church for the first time and enjoyed the concert. 

Sister hofmockel and I get to play together, and we got the whole audience clapping along. A was supposed to play her guitar with us, but sadly her car broke down, but it was still a lot of fun. Elder Erickson danced right alongside the boys and elder Apel wore a wig while playing his Beethoven piece which made everyone laugh, I got to sing musical theater, and we had a dynamic rendition from A with plenty of charming children’s performances.

As for the dance class, it succeeded in being adorable and no one could fight over colors of scarves because they where all the same. muwahahaha 

singing with nuns

Singing Sisters in Salzburg

M texted us after our lesson about the restoration and said that she was excited to read the Book of Mormon and was already feeling that it is true. That is always the thing you would like to hear after explaining the restoration.

We also sang with one of our investigators in a park standing next to a peace for mankind post, a passerby stopped and listened and then she just closed her eyes listening with her hand to her heart. Not in a patriotic way, more like something literally touching her heart. 

 thanks

We also had a big adventure driving home from institute. With A. The construction got the better of us, and a wacky navigation system made a lovely quite unplanned road trip. It is one of those times when you could get all worried, but really there is nothing you can do and you are in process of figuring it out, so you just make it fun and call the slow car in front of you with an unknown listened plate… A 

famous

We are so famous…..

We have been working hard to get things ready for closing, and say goodbye to everyone. 

I have to go.

Love Sister Gardner

No One’s Gonna Bring Me Down…

And no ones gonna bring me down
 
 
And nobody in all of Aus. 
No investigator who is or was....
Is ever gonna bring me down.
Bring me dooooooowwwwnnnnnnn ahah haaaaaaaaa! 
Multiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notesMultiple musical notes
 
Boom.
black out. 
Audience bursts into applause
building

Stadplatz in Wels, Austria

 
Well
 I am looking at the end of week four and the start of number five in 
this five week transfer. The sand is trickling down but Dorothy still 
seemed to manage. 
 
Anyhow. 
 This week, of Sister Gardner. As a missionary in Salzburg.
That place with the musical guys with powdered wigs, historically incorrect singing 
nuns, loooooootsssss of tourists, unsurprisingly no snails for 
breakfast, and the fortress on the hill.
 
There are however two 
well used umbrellas, many people with eyes glued to the football 
(soccer) game, little girls in tutus, a salt mine, buses, lot of buses, a
 Very, very German German, original piano musician from France, a proud 
to be an American who misses his organ shoes, two wise grandparents, and
 then of course the laughs at stupid puns, and wants to carry your 
groceries, or change your life, or at least give you a card, Mormon gal.
 Maybe she is singing. Who knows. salt mines 2
salt mines

Salt Mine tour on P-day with the district

This week, was certainly 
partly defined by the tausch (exchange) to Wels that I had with sister 
Gilmour, and the amazing miracles we experienced there. We went walking 
on the street heading to go see if an investigator in a part member 
family was home, we stopped and talked with a man named P and had a 
wonderful conversation, as a nice bonus, he has an elderly mother living
 in Salzburg and he would love if we would go visit her once a week and 
make sure she does not feel alone. And then we get invited into the home
 of a family that we stopped on the street. We sat on their elaborate 
carpeted floor and drank orange juice while he told their story. He was 
seemingly insistent that I come with sister Gilmour on Sunday to eat, so
 I hope it worked out without me.
exchange 4

Sister Gilmour in Wels

The next day we go to stop by a  few members, and less active in the area 
of an appointment. We go in, knock on the door, they open the door we explain 
who we are and we get about a two second stare and then. 
Slam.
Ok...
Then we are going 
down the stairs and we see a mom trying to get her kid out of the 
stroller and take up all her bags. We carry the things up and put them 
in her kitchen then she invites us to sit down,we talk for a bit, she 
says she thinks she knows our church. We are not sure if it was really 
our church but we have a good discussion, and then show her a video...
"I have seen that video before, that is the one my friend showed me." 
......Introduce the Book of Mormon,
" I have that, I just have not unpacked it yet from moving from Vienna."
 
..... Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok 
 
This lady has a friend in Vienna that had already taken her to church and 
introduced her to the gospel.
Later we get rejected hard core on a random less active stop by, we help with
a random woman who happens to live exactly across from the people who 
rejected us, and then she turns out to have already investigated the 
church, and wants to come see the church. But wants her whole family to 
be there so that they can see it together...
Glorious Nachos. That is an amazing story.
Basically
 that tausch was filled with miracles. Plus it was nice to talk to 
people about sister Strihavka, considering it is her old ward.
spider

Said the Spider to the fly…( view from a Castle wall)

 
Um sonst....
Dance classes with hyper little girls and them fighting over the different 
colored scarves, but sister Gardner keeping her cool. And knowing they 
are cute enough anyway. A great part member family home evening, he 
likes it when I sing.
A great member coming along to a new convert 
and investigator lesson. And a heart to heart with our little lady still
 living with her boyfriend.
field white

field White and ready to harvest

Another highlight was being invited to 
go help at a workshop at the motzartteum it is a university for the 
performing arts in Salzburg. We got to mingle with students and do some 
very creative movement, art, sound, and shadow storytelling activities. 
It was one of those times where so thing you don't usually think would 
be the stereotypical "door to door" missionary work proves to be a very 
effective missionary tool. I love when people finally admit that they 
know a Mormon, and I am just like. Ha. You do know us. And I know you 
are curious. It was a great service project for a member who called in 
from Vienna in hopes that we could help. It was so fun.
Mozarteum

Mozarteum – University of Performing Arts

I found a 
guy two weeks ago who we invited on the way to fHE, he came, and then 
came on Saturday for sports, he also happens to be a coach so we got to 
play with his ten other friends and two members that came, In the 
pouring rain on a muddy field. It was great. 
 
Sunday had a nice 
chance for lots of translating, a special musical number in sacrament 
meeting, and a talk about Enos in the primary. 
Over all, it was a good week.the girls
 
My thoughts this week link in a lot with the idea.... Just, Do it.
I
 am not talking sports here, but there is something to be said about 
this idea. Sometimes it get used to justify recklessness, but in my case
 it solidifies and edifices not only missionary work, but also 
obedience.  Even though it is always an interesting experience every 
time I talk to someone on a bus or the street or train, I have to decide
 to do it. I have to take that breath before I open my mouth. I have to 
do it, when I need to stop doing something, when I should go to bed, or 
plan... Anything. 
It is this process of human life of learning to 
have self mastery. To be an object that acts not something letting your 
environment or others choices effect you. It is deciding daily between 
good and evil, just ok, and great. It is prep for new things to come and
 future lessons to be learned. 
but the thing is, in all this hard 
work and decisions, and questions. It is so that we become stronger. 
More like our Father in Heaven. 
Alma 57:21, 27
I am working on 
that and I am still not perfect, but I am getting Better, and I also 
take comfort in knowing that my mission success is based upon my 
commitment to do the things which the Lord hath commanded... For he 
provideth a way.
And I am the Gardner planting the seeds. 
I send 
my love, and an invitation to start doing soothing today that you 
should. Or stop something you should not, strive to be a bit more exact.
 I pray for your progress. 
 
You pray for my investigators to progress.... Ok.?
Ok. :) 
Love, Sister Gardner 

Teaching Through Life

Teaching through life…

Testimony, commitment.

Asking the questions they have in their soul.

Life is mess

Without our name tags.

Word on the street hey, you guys are Mormons

Teaching through life,

Find on the sidewalk,

Hey we would like to share with you…

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

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

 

This week flew by. Again.

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

My life is this work.

 

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

️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️

But at least it has stars on it.

 

the zoo teaching

teaching all of God’s creatures at the Zoo

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

    Sister Harrick

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

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

    Salzburg And Wien Zone Conference

    zone conf 2

    Zone Conference

    the MTC crew

    My MTC Buddies

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

    elvis was here

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

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

I love you all…

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

Love, sister Gardner

going to maria's

ON the way to a teaching appointment

What is This Feeling

WHAT IS THIS FEELING…..

What is this feeling so sudden and new,

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

My bosoms burning, the tears are flowing,

My soul is calming, the answers coming,

Burning like a flame, does it have a name?

Yeah….. Yeah!

Moroni, chapter ten, verse 3, 4

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

 

So let’s talk about missionary work instead. 🙂

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

Tuesday held distrikt meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think I realized something this week.

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

I am a proud nerd.

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

Mosiah 24: 13-15

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

You can too.

All my love,

Sister Calee Gardner

a Fun  Little Story

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

little bird 1little bird 2

Good News

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

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

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


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

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

transfers

Sister waiting in Salzburg

Anyhow on a note of what is happening in Salzburg…

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

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

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

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

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

donut day

Artistic treat or donut day?

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

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

How are you doing with your part?

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

All my love,
Sister Calee Gardner

package

Package from home

 

At Some Point or Another

At some point or another you just have to sit on the asphalt and get your hands dirty with bike chain Grease. There is no other way. So you sit as nicely as you can and you put the fickle bike chain back on the gears. For the second time this five minute ride. And this time, every part of the morning that went less than you expected comes out in a desperate sort of prayer that says, “please Father, I need things to go better now.”
Well. They did. And He helped me, He loves me. And that day we saw beautiful miracles.

my bike

And that obnoxious bike, went a whole 45 minute bike ride without giving up the chain once. And then we made it to the appointment even though the train did not
come and we had to cross the border with our bikes. And then while grabbing some water we meet a man who says. “Hey, Mormons! ” I am so glad to see you guys.”

Found a guy who got all the lessons long ago, but never got baptized and when he moved did not know where the church was. K definitely has some promise. I mean it is not every time that you talk with a stranger that they tell you how amazing Joseph Smith was and
that they will come to church sometime soon. And then they give you free samples. Nice.

mountains
Then, two of our meetings fell out, but God had us covered for that. We went dooring in the area where our lesson would be and we find this little bookshelf on the street filled with free cd’s. Sitting right on the top, “Broadway hits” of course I cannot listen to it now,
but it was a little tender mercy.happy thoughts
Then we had a talk with a man in a park, we came back after our fantastic lesson with R and S. They still had not started the Book of Mormon so we read the first two chapter with them, I loved it. Explaining and expounding, I felt like those missionaries in the Book of Mormon that just lay it down what the scriptures mean. I am gladdened every time I start reading the Book of Mormon. It is a promise of all the stories I hold in my heart. I realized when I was explaining it, as I usually do. THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE, It continues
to do so. For the better.welcome
Anyhow. We found this beautific park to talk to people in, but to our dismay the bench where we had had such a long discussion was not empty. The Book of Mormon we gave to the man was still there. We were a bit sad. But you would not have been able to tell because we started talking to the new man sitting on the bench with a random copy of the
Book of Mormon just chilling there next to his backpack. … So first you don’t succeed, try, try again.


Anyhow, to finish it off we saw a wonderful family with a dad who was really taking care of his kids. He looked like a person I knew, and I could only wish that on him. Then, it was just warm and bright like a summer night should be, and there was a beautiful sunset. Thank you.

sunset

We had a nice breakfast with a lesson at a new convert’s house. Her boyfriend was baptized but never received the Holy Ghost, but that was a few years ago. So now we are preparing him to do it right. He is happy guy. They came to church on Sunday for the first time in probably 8 months!!!

M our lady who lives in the middle of far away committed to a date! We managed to find just the right joint teach, she and her husband drove us the whole hour long way in and where at the lesson, and she and M just clicked, sadly the member sister is leaving to
America for six weeks, so we have got to find someone else. But she will be coming back, just in time for the baptism. Woo! The family also took us to eat lunch in a little, very lovely, very old town. We ate next to a river and it was beautiful.

M's house

M’s House

M had little lambs

 

give said the little stream

Give Said the Little Stream ( By M’s house)

Our friend K, who had the sad travel story came to sport abend and brought a friend. His friend was amazing at volleyball ball.  Elder Erickson would set the ball and he would come flying down with a killer spike. Literally killer, everyone covered their heads and
curled up to protect themselves. Hmm. Was noch?

We taught institute on Tuesday. You have a lot of pressure to make it exciting for the young single adults especially when one of your former MTC teachers is sitting there as part of the class in the ward you are serving. But we jazzed it up with a cool activity at the
beginning and epic video segments. And writing on the board activities. It was elder Saumelsons last week. He is a good example.

We had a long church tour with lovely J and then went with her to the doctor the next day to help translate for an ear ache. We had a lot of time to talk and watch church videos and share scriptures while we waited and then we got lunch together after.
I went to a family called the D’s. They did a great big barbecue for the whole missionary force of Salzburg. They are such a nice family and part way through while doing the game part of family home evening, the mom invited us to take a look at some scarves and blouses she was wanting to give away, they did not fit her, so we each got a new shirt
and scarf and skirt.

dinner

Dinner at the D’s

cute

He reminded me of my old guinea pig Nigel

The daughter loves musical theater so we were able to talk about it a lot and we did everything outside in their garden. Plus we did a really fun spiritual thought with the family. It was silly too. They had to draw a picture of themselves using their foot to write. Ha ha, so funny. The elders planned it. We related it to how sometimes we feel awkward with our weaknesses, but that the lord makes us strong.
Then we related that to their own personal missionary work, we invited them to make a list of people. Who fit certain categories that we said and then invited them to give them an invitation to the special visitors Sunday coming up In a few weeks.

Lastly.

I was reading in Alma again today, he is talking to his sons. Alma 39-42. I was thinking about this perfect gift of the resurrection.Everyone has this gift. No matter how many little kids snowmen you kicked over, or old ladies you helped to cross the street. Everyone
will live again. But then your choices are what decide how happy you will be with this
un-ending life, this perfected body and the vast landscape of the eternities.
Did you prepare yourself for your ultimate potential, did you take the name of Christ not only upon yourself. Or upon your heart….

That is sort of like a mission. If you are called to serve, whatever kind of mission it is, if you are stocking the shelves of a bishops storehouse, wading through flooded highways in a jungle, helping people find their ancestors, hiking mountains to meet in huts, dodging
big yellow taxis looking for an address, or waking up to the tolling of church bells in a flat in Austria, you are called to serve. It is like a resurrection, a gift for all.
But, then come the second part.
How much do you use that time, have you given your heart as you could have. Have you let yourself be changed, did you choose to come closer to your Heavenly Father, did you follow his guidance and love all you came in contact with? That is the part that relates to this life, and we are living it right now, so think about it,

You will already receive an unbelievable gift in that you will live again.

But . You decided today, yesterday, tomorrow just how glorious
that will be.

All my love,
Sister Gardnerbikes again

 

Mi a Name I Call Myself

That title was for all your Spanish speakers, because that is as close
to a Spanish title as we are going to get in the alpine German speaking
mission.

Ah, and the story that actually links with the title. I see a new lady
in the church on Sunday sitting by herself after relief society
meeting. Well of course I go start talking to here. But surprise….
She only speaks Spanish. So I whip out the maybe two dozen words I
know. Ok not counting numbers. I am trying to figure out if she is a
visitor or member or what. And of course even when I realize it is
really not working out so well… I keep trying. It was about a ten
minute conversation. I did figure out who she was and where she was
from. Member visiting from Columbia who’s daughter is in the ward and
had just had a baby.
I think the funny part was me running to get my ipad and whipping out
the google translate.
Hopefully I at least made her laugh. ball

Speaking of that.
This just in, in France, Dora teaches you to speak English.
The real question is how did we come to that topic of conversation….

Well that could have to do with being stuck inside for two days. Ok,
maybe not two WHOLE days, but almost. I had escaped that morning to go
to the doctor which actually ended up condemning me to sit for the two
days…knee

AGONY. Misery. woe.
I guess riding a bike all the time and walking and just being a missionary

is not exactly helpful for knee injuries. But,
egal.(no matter)text message

I am back on my feet and we had a pretty great week.

On Tuesday we did a bit of finding. Talking with people in parks at
their doorways, on the street… And along a walking path next to a
duck pond. We were going to visit a less active, to just stop by,
and we stop to talk with a man sitting on the bench. We ended up
talking for about two hours. He told his his story of coming over from
Pakistan. This poor, poor man. It was the most horrible story I have
heard. He thanked us profusely for listening and said that he had
actually been praying and feeling really alone and his friend had had
a big operation for his seizures that day and then we had started
talking with him and that he knows God answered his prayer.
After ending my exile in Freilassing we met up with the storrers and
K at the church. He talked for about two hours telling us his story.

I recorded it and will begin transcribing it into a document so it

can be translated into German and then used for his visa interview.

He was so,so,so grateful. His story, is something that just sounds

like a bad dream. He has seen so much death and hate and injury and

people treating others like less than animals.
In general conference they talked about letting a refugee tell you
their story, looking into their eyes. It makes such a big difference.
If everyone just took a moment to really listen and hear from their
perspective there would be so much more understanding. So much more
love.lock bridge

We rode out to M this week on the bus with an older member of our
ward. I got to talk with her the whole way up and back. She of course
got on the bus later than we did and got off sooner but in the end it
was probably about two hours, I learned about her whole life and her
journey to find the church. Her first husband and the fifteen years
she spend living in Pakistan and then meeting her husband after being
widowed and then coming back to Germany. She was converted to the
church and has amazing faith. At one point, we where meeting outside.
Maria got distracted because her grandson and his little friend were
playing too far down the dirt road getting down to the bigger road. I
know you are all picturing something in your head but it is probably not
even close. Think in the middle of the mountains In a village. Hard to
explain when you don’t have much time. Anyhow, M asked sister
hofmockel to go get them, but we need to stay together so we go
running off, because two old ladies are not going to be able to do
much In a moment when you need speed. We come back up the big dirt hill
pushing the little petal four wheeler looking cars that the little
boys where riding. We finally get back up and our member sister is

sharing Moroni 10. I was so proud of her. And M really listened. We

read mosiah 4 She finally really read what was in there and then said.

Wow. It is really the same teaching as the bible……. YES. What have

we been telling you.
So, we are making progress slowly but surely.

zone 2

Salzburg Zone

zone

Part II

We had a nice zone training this week. Always nice to see our friends.
And the elder from Peru cracks me up. He is short and so smiley. He
has a great accent. I also have made friends with one of the elders
from Germany. He was talking win sister hofmockel and I at the stake
sport day.zone 3

Our golden guy mike is sadly moving to Italy. We had only one lesson
with him but he was so ready. So we hope that he will meet with the
missionaries when he gets there. His friend that he invited to meet
with us came to church on Sunday. Woo in a taxi!

Well. Things are good here. great Boucing Icebergs, There are soooo
many tourists in the Bahnhof today. Wow. Just took a pause to talk to
a couple from Canada. He is a firefighter but cannot find work. She
studies physiology. They have been going through Italy, Austria and the
czech republic. Managed to talk about Jesus Christ and give them a
card.
And now I let that little dandelion puff fly out into the sky and we
shall see if it grows.Salzburg Hauptbahnhof

I had some great moments reading the Book of Mormon this week.

Read it again, it is true. The stories are real. There is good and bad
in every life but God is always there, he loves us. He loves you.

So do I you know.

Love, sister Gardner

 

I Have Confidence in Sunshine

I have confidence in sunshine

I wanted to talk about a certain word that I learned in my personal study today.

It is called anmutig

anmutig means, according to the handy yellow dictionary means Graceful. I am reading through the Book of Mormon in German, and I am in Mosiah. Shortly after the wicked king Noah leads part of the men of his people to leave behind their families. The people send their “fair” daughters before them and the lame guys are charmed and do not kill them anymore. Hurrah, happier ending than expected.

Anyhow, the process for translating is complex. Really, I notice that when translating for church every Sunday. You could just do a word for word translation, but you have to take into consideration the sentence structure and the ideas trying to be portrayed. So it is interesting that the word that was chosen was anmutig or graceful.

I had always though. Oh. They got them with their looks. Which might have been true… Which considering they were sword toting men in a sort of beastly rampage that might have been true. But this time as I read it in German, this passage had new meaning.

It would have taken a lot of courage to stand between your family and the fiends that had already slain others, their blood stained weapons raised poised to add to the slaughter. So that brings me to my observation. The word anmutig has the word mut in it. Courage.

So with a grace-filled courage these fair daughter stood before the army, pleading the lives of their mothers and fathers. And they saved them! Which was good because these people where not yet ready to be united with their Father in Heaven.

Long story short. Shout out to the female heroes of the Book of Mormon.

And let us be anmutig. Cause, that does not just mean you can waltz your way around the dance floor.

I suppose, in the end I hope that I can also be anmutig.

So. Pardon my musings.

Well, this week was pretty excellent.

Our referral from the Catholic nun accepted a baptismal date in the first lesson, and her friend accepted one too. And there is a third friend with a little daughter found through his woman. They were very excited but they have got to come to church still for the first time.

ice cream

This calls for ice cream celebration

I really enjoyed skype-ing on Sunday. It seems like some strange sort of time machine. Back to before I took care of hundreds of people in my different areas. In two different countries. From all countries.

Regarding the tourist. I was a little frustrated by this, because when finding people to teach it would be nice if the people that you talk to on the street actually loved in Salzburg. Not Texas, or India, or France, or England, Und so weiter. My friend sister Camilla Strihavka is serving in the temple square mission. She wrote that their job is to make sure that everyone who comes has a spiritually uplifting experience and leaves having come closer to Jesus Christ. So. That is what I hope I accomplish anytime I offer to take someone’s picture and they only leave with a card. I hope that for this time, I made a difference and that when they go home to their respective country. Hopefully we can turn some of these curious tourists into referrals for missionaries around the world. Feeling a bit united with my sister at home in one of the most popular tourist cities in all of Europe.

We had a stake sport day this week and I was helping with the little kids Olympics. One of the organizers for the primary had asked if we would be willing to take care of a station. So I helped little kids jump through hoops do a “Purzelbaum” (somersault) weave between the cones, through  tunnel, riding on one of those sitting scooters and back again. Actually, explaining it meant I had to learn some new words.

mama s

Mama Strihavka

I also got to talk with sister Strihavkas mom. Which was really nice. She and I had a great conversation, and at one point we just hugged each other, both with tears in our eyes . She is a strong lady. And some of the things  she did were just like sister s. Aber, I am not sad. Just glad I got to make this weitere connection. Also I met the parents of sister S’s best friend who is serving in Greece right now. So basically I’ve got my roommates all figured out if I ever come back to Vienna to study.

This week had a few hard times, and a few lovely times.

Sometimes you pack in all your stuff to do an amazing service project and lesson, and then your investigator does not want to walk back to their house because it is raining and there is no way you could work in her Garden anyway. And then you are forced to meet in a cafe instead and have to deal with all the people there. Sometimes no matter what you say people will not believe that our father in Heaven loves us. Sometimes members feel the need to tell you how you should be doing your job, but are not willing to invite the very less active friend you are working with to come to church.

spring in  salzburg

Mirabell Palace

But then again, sometimes you catch your train even though your chain breaks off your bike again, and sometimes people are actually so excited to hear about the gospel being restored and after you finish explaining the first vision, they take the pamphlet from your hand and turn to explain it in their own words to their friend next to them. Checking with you sentence by sentence if they got it right.  Sometimes you talk to cool students who just dyed their hair bright blue, this morning, and sometimes a fiesty Austrian papa, who has been holding out with W S like  determination waiting time to not join the church, is touched by the song you sing and then walks with you out to the car, explaining the herb garden and construction site next to his house as you walk out. Sometimes you get a horrible, sunburn. But everyone offers to bring you aloe Vera.

another zellow building

St Michael’s Basilica

Sometimes you rejoice when a lesson goes well, sometimes you are sadden when someone cancels. You celebrate all the elders birthdays but made too much cake. Ok, so that last one is not so schlimm.

All in all, this microcosm of missionary work shows what life is like. But no matter what happens, I can move on rejoicing that I am a missionary and a daughter of God.

VonTrapp Family home from the movie

Von Trapp Family Home in the Movie

16 going on...

I am 16 going on 17 gazebo….oh yeah!

God has a plan, he loves us, Jesus Christ stands in the middle of this plan, the Holy Ghost helps us to know. The Gospel brings joy to those who let it.

It has brought me joy.

…is it working for you?

 

All my love,

Sister Gardner

Salzburg missionaries

Sister  Hofmockel, Sister Gardner, Elder Erickson and Elder Samuelson…..and Salzburg, Austria

Rain Drops on Roses

Raindrops on Roses

Well. It is raining. Again.

But that is alright because we are sitting oh so cozy and dry in the waiting room of Salzburg Bahnhof. Free wifi, and lots of people who can’t leave until their train goes. You meet lots of people during those two hours despite the fact it goes by too quick.
sisters in a selfie
I just want to share a few lovely moments from this week.

I told you about meeting a man on the street and talking for a long while. Well. We met up that Wednesday and had out first appointment with him. We gave him a church tour and he was just really quiet during it, we went into the library and he finally says something.
There was some random book in there “the way to perfection” he asked is that what we thought perfection was. Darn it random book. But it was fine we explained about the atonement and that although we are not perfect through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we can be made perfect. We get to the end and he asks. Ok, well what is actually your message. So we sit down in the chapel, chairs In a circle. We give an overview
of what we teach. Now E is not a big fan of books, he is more of a how you feel and doing service sort of guy. He shares about when he was fourteen he asked, in prayer not in the Muslim way, or the Christian way, but his own way if God was there. He described feeling
a burning in his heart, warmth. … But that is where the spirit just gets started.
He asks us how we came to know what we believe is true. I share about when I felt closest to my Heavenly Father. That leads to a few more things, but then our member A, who is return missionary from the Manchester mission. Talks a little about how the Book of Mormon helped her. He listens but then says. I have read the bible over and over and the Koran over and over, but it does nothing for me. I feel nothing. It is just words. Why is this book different.

Wow, I can feel the spirit as I start to write this..
We open up to Moroni 10:3-5 and ask him to read explaining that this book has a promise. We hand the open book to him. He does not read out loud, as he starts
like a crescendo, the spirit comes in, stronger and stronger until it literally has a physical feeling in the room, like a weight of warm, and an undeniable presence. His hands start to shake and he is silent staring at the words he has read. He looks up and there are tears just so slightly at the rims of his lower eyelid. I look to my companions, their eyes match mine with a wet line of tears on our cheeks. The feeling does not go away. He finally speaks.

Saying…. Something to the extent of.
That is different.
That is the feeling again. I have not felt that since I was fourteen. If I could cry I would. And you won’t believe me, but, well you see,
my sister died when I was a little boy. I really have not thought of her so strongly.

.. ” do you believe you will see her again.”
“Yes.” You will.
“What do I need to do.”

And so I invited a 25 year old Muslim Christian Austrian young man from Pakistan who has been looking for the truth since he was 14 to be baptized…

The story can only go further from here, and I don’t know what lies in store for him. But I know that it is important because I have never experienced that so totally realistically physicality of feeling the spirit. He is amazing.

minute 2

All Set up for the Minute to  Win it Activity

In other news, we had an amazing minute to win it activity, the decorations s turned out great and we had lots of visitors there and
it was really very fun. We know these games well in the United States but for many of these people it was the first time. I love when I am running around being a hostess and making sure everything is going well and all the games are going well. I don’t know, it is energizing. And exhausting.

Pray for V,  we went to visit her but when her mom came home she had us go immediately because she says her mom is not so excited about religion. But I felt bad leaving right when she came. We are not robbers. So I hope I can get to know her better so that she can know
we are normal people.

Ha, I got a call from a certain mama Strihavka on the phone who was very excited to hear that I was serving in her stake. I don’t think you in Utah understand what a stake is like in Austria. There are two stakes in the whole country. It divides in the middle. Vienna and
Salzburg. That is it. Chew on that for a while.

framed

Sister Gardner in Salzburg

I met a woman who is planning to make a pilgrimage across Austria. She is one of the two ladies we met thru our nun convent adventures. She is really sweet, loves Imagine by John Lennon which luckily sister Hofmockel could play on the piano and she has the baby tooth of herson as an earring. She is cool.

trying not to laugh

The beautiful Sister H

Salzburg is filled with tourists, and the American ones all know I am Mormon. Oh happy day. Go home and ask the missionaries to visit you.

I would say they are pretty charismatic, super fun, spiritual and sing a lot. And also secretly thinking of hundreds of different things at one time. And trying their best even though they often wonder how to perform the work as greatly as their Heavenly Father would desire. But also counting on the power of the Holy Ghost, the love of Christ, and the knowledge of the truthfulness of our message.

All my love,
Sister Gardner.

 

The Hills…..

The Hills…..

(dramatic Pause)

are pretty much getting up and dancing with the sound of music.

The last few days since I left Tübingen have gone by at a breakneck speed. My mind has been working to dive into this place. .. and it has been working of course. There is much to do and a whole never ending supply of souls to bless. I loved going to the new relief society activity the first day. And I am just looking around this room, thinking. OK. Deep breath here we go. Got to make new friends. I tried to play it cool as I used my lack of scrapbooking skills to make cards while chatting in German and English with whoever I could.

Sis Hofmockel 2

Sister Gardner and Sister Hofmockel

But that did not happen until the day of traveling and goodbye saying and new adventure starting was over. Transfer day got moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays this transfer. It was quick I am not going to lie. But also nice to get started sooner in the new area.

Thursday morning we went out to visit a new investigator in the middle of the mountains. really. We took a train and a bus and then met a surprisingly springy older woman at the bahnhof who walked us to her house in the middle of a dorf. It was raining and looked about as typical Austrian postcard that you can picture. We teach her the plan of salvation, and at the end ask her if she would be baptized when she finds out this is all true… She said yes and that once she did she wanted to do it as soon as possible. It was beautiful. She has been searching for the truth her whole life and recently her nephew in Croatia got baptized and referred his aunt to us. She is so prepared and was so excited to hear about how this is really Christ’s church.

salzburg

Salzburg Cathedral

 

I am grateful for sister Strihavka´s help with German, because I feel more confident and people have made comments that they think I have good German. so that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. But for people (future missionaries) reading my blog, you don´t need a native companion to do it. Just talk with your companion in the language.. Always. You can do it.

I got to meet V our sweet young woman age investigator who can speak Russian and Hungarian and German. I was able to share a testimony of the ward missionary back in Wiener Neustadt that I had saved on my  ipad, written in Hungarian. She stayed with us after church on Sunday and ate lunch with us and then came that night to the Storrers for family home evening. (The Storrers are the Senior couple serving in Salzburg.)

I am running out of time. Sorry about this week. It is short. But some highlights.
J and L are some fantastic new friends. Both college students… and both with a knowledge about a certain time traveling blue box. 🙂 that was a nice hapensatnce. We had a really good conversation about God being our Heavenly Father. Very spiritual.

mozart

Statue of Mozart ( this is the birthplace of a master)

Riding bikes again.. you know I always read in missionaries emails about them going to insta-care and thought. wow. what on earth were they doing…. well….. heh, heh. Karma…. I suppose. But the knee is healing up nicely and I have been taking the turn coming off the bridge onto the construction zone dirt road a loooooooot slower.

We are planning for an amazing minute to win it activity coming up.

I found a potential in Reutlingen back in wow… I think end of November or beginning of December. J… I sent him as a referral over to the Salzburg area… Guess who is still taking the lessons and coming to church every week…… It was a pretty funny moment to have him come to the family home evening and being like… Soooooo, do you need another sign from God. ha ha. Last time I saw him I was very bold with him on the street challenging him to meet again with the sisters and read in the Book of Mormon again. Go back to church. Keep going with what he had already started to learn 10 years ago…. I guess it worked.

snakes

Snakes…….and a smile

Well. There has already been a lot of singing going on here. and I will be glad to let you know what next week’s adventure brings.

Lots of Love,

Sister Gardner