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

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

I’m Making My Entrance Now…..With All That I am Somehow

I can feel it, can you feel it?

I can feel it, that happy heartbeat that races when I am able to help someone. The moment before the words come out and I ask that first question. When you wait hoping, pleading in your heart that they will walk through those church doors. When you look over and see their eyes filled with tears or the quiet still that comes when their hearts are open too. I am feeling so glad. My heart is full as I serve. I feel an urgency to speak with everyone and I am learning to rely again and again on faith.

Birthday Selfie with Sister Wilks.

Birthday Selfie with Sister Wilks.

This week I turned 20. Wah hoo! I made it two decades. Everything I have been learning during that time has been preparing me for what was to come. Preparing me for this week, for this day, for this very moment. God’s plan is a perfect one because it is constantly pushing us to grow and learn enough that we are called to be better and implore him to help us, but strong enough that we can lift others with us as we climb.

Thanks for all of the gifts, cards and birthday greetings.

Thanks for all of the gifts, cards and birthday greetings.

I thank those who sent me their love on my birthday. Thank you for the well wishes and thoughts, it really meant a lot. Thank you also to the elders who called just moments after I woke up being the first, after my companion of course, to wish a happy birthday to a sister still just sitting up after turning off the alarm. Thank you to French toast and primary programs, and funny little Urdu\Romanian speaking couples that give you cola and cookies after just meeting you the day before. Thank you for being able to find a fun place to eat that sells dinner crepes. Thank you for laugher and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

“It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.” – Joseph Fielding Smith

I like this one because it helps me focus on one day at a time and helps me appreciate the progress I am making. I wish I were better at lots of things. I feel often insufficient to serve and love these people with everything they deserve, but then I think again and have faith in the fact that I am called to these people for a reason and purpose. They need me in some way.

I am really glad to be working with new converts in this ward. This is something new for me, and it is helping me really gain a new perspective of the kind of ward member I want to be when I get back from my mission. It helps me realize again the enormous faith it takes to be the pioneer in a family, the first to take the big step back to our Father in Heaven.

Speaking of new converts, I got an email today that W was able to pass the sacrament for the first time yesterday and that he bore his testimony for the ward. I felt this bubbling up excitement in my very heart and soul when I read those words. It was a glorious feeling of peace and I did a little happy dance in my chair when I read that. Wow, there is nothing like that, to hear that they are strong and happy…

I am running short on time to write, but want to leave a testimony of the importance of love. Loving people no matter where they are on their journey. Working to love them perfectly like the Savior does. It helps you feel how to help them, and even though I am not a perfect teacher, or friend, or daughter or future something, or missionary, or 20 year old, or sister or human being; when I rely on most importantly acting with Christ like love, those I care for will be able to feel it through the spirit.

Be Brave! Enjoy the sky and be still, knowing He is there.

Love, Sister Gardner

Pictures from the Hike up Schneeberg a couple weeks ago before transferring to Tubingen.

Schneeberg, here we come.

Schneeberg, here we come.

Sister Mountain Goats?

Sister Mountain Goats?

The WN Family plus their favorite RM on Schneeberg

The WN Family plus their favorite RM on Schneeberg

On Top of the World

On Top of the World

At the Top

At the Top

We made it!

We made it!

Ten Things that Made Me Happy

  1. We sang hymns at a teaching appointment with a member, she was so happy and pulled out her little flower fabric bound hymnbook to sing along.
  2. Lilac trees are in bloom here
  3. Playing Uno with the random man on the train who decided it would be a good plan to stay in a compartment with 6 missionaries. He thought we where a bit strange but by the end was playing Uno and laughing. A little awkward when he kept shouting out english swear words whenever someone played a Draw Two.

    Train Training

    Train Training L to R- Elder Durrant, Elder Deleeuw, elder McArthur, Elder Anderson, Sister Poll

  4. Seeing my MTC district at the mission conference for Elder Bednar.

    MTC District at the Elder Bednar Conference. L to R- Elder Bolt, Elder ?, Elder ?, Elder Ficher, elder Gappmayer, Elder Liechty, Elder McArthur, Sister Burgess, Elder Mantle,Sister Gardner, Elder ?, Elder McDaniel, Elder Chilcutt, Elder Walker, Elder Erickson, Elder Clark

    MTC District at the Elder Bednar Conference. L to R- Elder Bolt, Elder ?, Elder ?, Elder Ficher, elder Gappmayer, Elder Liechty, Elder McArthur, Sister Burgess, Elder Mantle,Sister Gardner, Elder ?, Elder McDaniel, Elder Chilcutt, Elder Walker, Elder Erickson, Elder Clark

  5. A Lebkuchen Heart (a traditional gingerbread cookie)

    Lebkuchen Heart

    Lebkuchen Heart

  6. Fireworks we could see out the window of the hostel we stayed in the night before Elder Bednar´s address.
  7. Elder Bednar!
  8. Spending the night with the sisters in Salzburg and then going to church with them Sunday morning.

    Sisters in Salzburg: L to R- Sister Abram, Sister Fenton, Sister Gardner, Sister Poll

    Sisters in Salzburg: L to R- Sister Abram, Sister Fenton, Sister Gardner, Sister Poll

  9. Sister Poll got a camel in the mail for hump day, she is halfway through her mission. I got a package too!!
  10.  The sister training leaders for Sister Poll and I dropped off a little note and some doughnuts for us while we were having president interviews and a district meeting in Vienna.

And perhaps a sticky bun… or four…

And perhaps a sticky bun… or four…

Before this mission the only train I had really ridden on was the Heber Creeper and some sort of railway at Disneyland. Lets just say things are a bit different.

waiting for a train.  L to R- Elder Durrant, Sister Poll, Elder McArthur, Elder Deleeuw and Elders ?.

waiting for a train. L to R- Elder Durrant, Sister Poll, Elder McArthur, Elder Deleeuw and Elder Anderson

We traveled all day on Friday to get to Munich for our meeting with Elder Bednar. Sister Poll and I made some no bake cookies right before bed so that we could take them on the eight-hour train ride… hence, the title for today. We got really good at those flashcards we brought with us during that time. This whole week has been filled with travel. Really. Honestly. I am so excited for a normal week where we can go talk with people and have some appointments, aber (but), I learned so much during our travel adventures.

Sister Gardner and Sister Poll in Munich

Sister Gardner and Sister Poll

Elder Bedar told us right away that the reason he was there was not for I-Pads. Granted- yes we are getting I-Pads, but it was so much more than an instructional meeting on how to use technology, it was an inspiring meeting led by Elder Bednar, but perfected through the spirit.

So many missionaries here to listen to Elder Bednar.

So many missionaries here to listen to Elder Bednar.

He talked about how we are agents that act not objects to be acted upon. We need to remain that way. The technology is a tool that I might be using more in the near future, but it does not change the nature of this work. This work is to bring others to the light of Christ and help them accept the Lord’s atonement in this life.

There was an elder playing music before the meeting started, he brought such a spirit with his piano playing, the microphone kept throwing angry fits and buzzing loudly and attempting to drive out the spirit. It would be uncomfortable for a moment and then they would fix it, and those beautifully arranged hymns would bring the spirit right back in again.

View from a train.

View from a train.

I wanted to share two different thoughts I have had. The first is a quote:
” I do not believe there is one missionary whose weaknesses are greater than the potential strengths within him. Why? – Because each of us is a son or daughter of God, with His divine nature and divine potential woven into the very fabric of our souls. I do not think the Lord expects immediate perfection of us, but I do believe he expects immediate progress.” -Tad R. Callister

I think that the last part is what I am really going to focus on, always improving and trying to do everything a little better. I know I have so much to learn as a missionary, and it is always hard work. It is a leap of faith to start talking to someone, trying to share what you hold close to your heart and hoping they understand it is meant with love. I know I need to be better, but I am grateful for the change to grow. I know God has blessed me with both strengths and weaknesses, therefore, he understands when I have weakness, and is always encouraging me to improve.

At Castle Ruins in Graz

At Castle Ruins in Graz

Second, I also finished the Book of Mormon again this week, I love reading in Ether and those last power chapters. I prayed as I always do to ask about the truth. I felt good, but usually it is an enormous spiritual experience. I figured it was because I already knew it was true, but I was a bit confused, but hold your horses ladies and gentlemen, because what happened next was about all the spiritual experience I needed. The day I finished, I got some letters in the mail. Inside were two talks from Apostles in this day and age, testifying that they knew without a doubt that the Book of Mormon was true. All the way from Utah, these letters had made it to me on that exact day. Later, Elder Bednar said at the meeting on Saturday that those who are in tune in with the spirit do not have to be hit over the head with the Holy Ghost every time. It means that God trusts me; it means my testimony is solid. And it is true, I do know.

Views from castle ruins in Graz.

Views from castle ruins in Graz.

The Book of Mormon is the manifestation of God’s love for his children in all times. It is either true or it is not, and you have to consider would Joseph Smith die for some sort of hoax that he put together on the weekend with some buddies to make some cash. NO. That is something I can say plain and simple. The Book of Mormon has always been there for me. If you have faith that something will help you, it will. I would offer that when a testimony is challenged the most lovely way to put those pieces together stronger is to read. “Climb the Castle Wall, Sweep her off her feet.” Sorry for the obscure Robin Hood reference, but it really just means ACT! Do something. Decide to be strong and then BE STRONG.

a twist on the Austrian flag

a twist on the Austrian flag

So I forgot to mention something from last week. I went and helped a lovely less active member in her garden last week, I was able to get out of the big city of Graz and just see the beautiful green landscape all around me. It felt good to dig in the dirt and be close to the wind and sky. God gives these as gifts. I know that joy in this life, and joy in doing what we love shows that indeed we are meant to have joy. So be good my friends.
Sing some songs, say some prayers, eat something tasty, dance around in a train station a bit, and try not to flood the bathroom floor of the hostel with a well meaning but secretly evil shower head. Because although the six sisters you are sharing a room with will come to the rescue with their own dry towels, you will inevitably have to go get more dry towels from the lobby.
Life is Good.
Just be Brave.
Be an agent of action for yourself.

Much Love…
Sister Gardner