Monday, December 27, 2010

Colton's Christmas

Christmas Baptism

Survived my first Christmas!


Well Christmas has come and gone now and there isnt much more to update you all on other then the baptism that we had! I attached some pics from the baptism and how amazing Christmas day was for us! Truely couldnt have been better. I not only got to talk to my family but got to see all them again! Right after me and Elder Skoubye hurried and showered and then took off for the church to fill up the font and wait for everyone to show up! Before too long the whole family of our Baptism Nicolas showed up, he has 3 returned missionary grandsons and one that gets home in Feburary so they have obviously been waiting for this day for quite a while now. They were all so happy, to see him so happy about his baptism! I got to talk a lot to all of his grandsons and we had one of them give a short talk about the Holy Ghost for the baptism and he did so good, actually cryed trying to give the talk because he never thought he would see the day that his own grandpa would be getting ready for his baptism after all the baptisms that he had had in his mission. The dad of these 3, almost 4 returned missionaries still is not a member of the church but they kept telling me that some day he will come around!
This Christmas was something else for me and my companion! Truely a blessing to be in the area we are, during this time of the year, with the investigators that we have. I thought it was gonna be a whole lot harder then it was to talk to the fam but it wasnt hard at all.... Talking to all of you, whether it was in spanish or english was just kinda allowing me to get a quick update that all you guys are still there and growing up just too dang fast! For all of you who I didnt get an update from, I expect one!
Well I think thats about it, I know this is goin out early in the morning but we have a lot of pictures to print of the baptisms and to make a little something special for them with all of the pictures. Its gonna be a crazy day though! New Years is gonna come and go before the next time I talk to all of you, so I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR. Try not to have too much fun without me! This Church is sooo true, I know it with all my heart! I also love all of you with all my heart and your always in my prayers! Thanks for everything!

Until Next Year!!
Love Elder Gardner

Friday, December 24, 2010

5 more days

Hey everyone,

Well wow I cant believe im gonna be calling home in just 5 days and its gonna be soo fast because of all the things we have to do this week. Tomorrow we have the missions christmas party, wednesday the one for the branch, and every other day with a member, or more then one some of the nights! Im so stoked, im definately gonna be putting on the pounds but ah im so stoked. Hopefully they will send me to the south here pretty soon so I can start sweatin off all this that iv been savin up in these cold areas! haha
Well I dont want to say much cuz I wanna have plenty to talk about! Just an update from this week is that we did have that baptism and heres a couple of the pictures from there. We got lucky that the president of the branch had a camera and so I threw my card in there. The baptism went really good though other then the fact that the water was colder then ice water and Fernando was just freezing but he was sooo happy at the same time!
I finished the book of mormon the first of this week for my first time all the way through in spanish and the promise from our mission president from when we got here that if we read the book of mormon in spanish, and our loud we would learn spanish in no time. Well there you have it and its incredible how much i understand now, and how much my accent has gotten soo much better.
Yesterday at church, ah it was so amazing. For the first time ever this year in Central America and even better in Honduras we had the first EFY here. There were 16 youth from our area that all went and we allowed them time to give their testimonies about what happened and everything that they had learned! Wow just after 3 testimonies of some of the most amazing youth, they had everyone in tears, including me and my comp. It truely was so powerful to hear them bearing sincere testimony of the things they learned, felt, and everything! Our baptism from saturday looked over at me and asked me "are you crying?" I just laughed and said yeah i am, because I went 2 years to this same program for the youth and remember the feelings, spirit, and testimony that the church, through this amazing program. He still didnt really understand why everyone was crying, let alone me but with time im sure he will learn how to find and feel that spirit that was just penetrating in the hearts of all 96 people that were there at church yesterday!
Yesterday after church we had planned to visit with this guy who has been coming to church with his daughter for almost 4 weeks now but we had never gone up to his house to find him until last sunday and then he wasnt home during this past week. So after we made the 35 minute hike up to his house and when we got there we didnt necisarily have anything set to teach him but when we showed up we decided to teach him of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and when we started we really could just see that he was a whole lot different today with us. I wispered in english to Elder Skoubye if he felt we should throw down the fetch of the 25th, Christmas, to be baptized and he said just why not! So we did it and suprisingly, without problem he accepted and then we called his daughter, who is a member, into the room and when we told her that her dad now has the desires to be baptized after telling me and elder Reyes no no no no but just said that there was something different with us from when we started visiting with him and that he was ready! His daughter just about fell in tears when we told her, cuz she also has a son who is on the mission and gets home next month and just told us how happy he is going to be! It was such a great experience to see all that happen. Something Ill never forget! I wish you all could have been there! So yeah we have a baptism Christmas Day that is for sure, and if were lucky maybe 2 more!
I thank all of you for all your support and love that you are sending me not only through words but through your prayers. They are being answered!
I love this church, love Honduras, and cant wait to talk to you guys saturday! Muah!!

Love Elder Gardner

Monday, December 13, 2010

Movie Night

Hey Fam,

Not sure where to start today with the short time that I have today and what I have to respond to other emails and this being the 2nd to last email before Ill be calling home! Gosh i cant believe Christmas is already here, I fell like I was just in the MTC getting snowed on but oh well! Thanks to all of you in UT for takin on all the snow for all of us missionaries here in Central America!! Its been pretty weird for me as Christmas approaches and theres no snow, for the first time in my life! Im actually not as lucky as some of the missionaries though because here in Valle de Àngeles its pretty dang cold and just ridiculous winds so it kinda stinks but it gives me a piece of what your all getting in UT i guess!
So about every crazy little thing that happened this week! On the bus ride back from Teguc last monday I started thinkin about an activity that we could do to involve not only the members but to get them to bring friends to this incredible church that we really do have! So what me and Elder Skoubye thought up is a Movie night in the church and to just watch the Restoration, or the Joseph Smith movie because we had plans to watch it with two investigators that we have anyways on wednesday but we really wanted to watch the full one and not just the 20 minute one. With time we figured that to give us enough time to make litteral invitations and get maybe a projector from the stake center in Teguc to project it all up on a wall in the church and have a big movie night basically! To make a long story short, we made a ton of invitations and passed out as many as we possibly could before friday and just hope on the fact that the branch president could get the projector from the stake center... well friday came and we were counting on a good 40 people to show up, we put 5 on the invitations so everyone would show up about 5:30 Honduras time if you know what I mean. Well at 5 we had 6 people and no investigators so we were gonna wait till the latest 5:45 and then start the movie. Well in the end we only had 30 in there when the movie started so that was a bit rough and then later our family of investigators showed up about 6 or so but luckily caught the just and purpose of the movie. It wasnt what we expected but it was fun and a way to get the members involved too as they brought about 3 or 4 new investigators or references for us to the movie which really helped and everyone loved it! After the movie we actually went with some of our investigators to walk them back to their house and to find out where they lived exactly and when we showed up, we met the mom cuz we knew if we could make a good impression with her, all of her kids who were teaching would get baptized. Turns to find out that about 2 years ago the missionaries had visited with her but nothing happened. However that night when we went over she wasnt feeling very good and as we asked if there was anything we could do, she said she would like just a prayer. Well we all know that we have something a little more powerful then just a prayer and we went in and explained about what the preistood is, and that its a power that we have, that God gave us to perform special blessings and things like that. Shortly after we sat her down and gave her a preistood blessing to get feeling better and when I finished the blessing I looked up and her 20 year old daughter that were teaching was crying, and then asked us for a blessing for her too, so by the end of the night we gave two preistood blessings and it really just made the night worth it for us! Just goes back to what I was saying last week that the lord has not only been putting people in our paths, but throwing them at us! Its been such a blessing for me and Elder Skoubye! We are loving life to say the least!
Some of the bad news of this past week is that the baptism we were suppost to have didnt happen cuz we had planned to teach the commandments on wednesday to him and when we did he told us he had drinkin coffee on tuesday so we decided to postpone till this saturday, but hes super positive and has a better understanding of keeping the commandments now!
Yesterday we got up early to get out and gather up our investigators beacuse it was the primary program and so we did all we could to get everyone there but satan got the best of us with one of them and made us late to another to pick up. Luckily this one lady that were teaching ended up leaving for the church at 8;30 to get there early and when we showed up she was there surrounded with members talking to her... just amazing to see!
Theres so much more that I could say but I think im gonna stop there and save things to talk about for Christmas....ahhhh 13 days! Cant believe it!
I hope this letter today was a testimony to all of you that are reading this that I really do know this is the true church and that Im loving life right now! This week is gonna be vital for us this week if we want to close out the year with a possibility of 5 baptisms all before christmas! Please keep us in our prayers this week that we can make it happen! It means more then the world to me to know that all of you are there supporting me! Thank you, each one of you!!

I love you all!!

The Lord just throws people in our path

Hey Fam!
Well today im sure your all waiting to find out what news we got with changes. Turns out I got me another Greengo companion. His name is Elder Skoubye, from Riverton, UT and were getting along really well. Hes a shy guy and doesnt talk much beacause spanish has been a struggle for him, but hes got almost 11 months in the mission now and were both helping each other out a lot! It sure was good to get a change so that we can all start over again in our huge area and just blow it up! In the good way!
So to start this new change off with Elder Skoubye I just told him about how it was with Elder Reyes and that I have huge plans to just start from scratch, contact as much as we can, and start working a lot more with the members. Mainly because the biggest problem was that none of the members trusted my last companion so it was kinda tough, but Its been such a great change in our area to just start over!
Well there has been a lot of amazing experiences that have happened this week starting wednesday when me and Elder Skoubye started. First of all one of the servants of Hna Cordova, named Alba, This last week at church she actually just showed up randomly, with a neice and a nephew, just from the simple things that we have done in the past weeks with giving her a Book of Mormon and teaching little by little when we had the time. Now wednesday when we showed up from Teguc from Changes, with the luggage and everything she was out front of the house and so I had been wanting to ask how it went at church and so I asked her, she said she loved it and that she wants to get baptized!!! That was just something else from me becasue I could tell sunday that she liked the church but I thought we were quite a ways away from baptism but now that is not the case! Alba wasnt able to show up to church yesterday but she is preparing to be baptized the 18th its lookin like! This week has been something else for us now that we are living litteraly in 100% obedience and I can testify from many experiences that we have had this week that when we are doing everything we can to be 100% obedient, the lord has not only been putting people in our bath, but in some experiences this week, throwing them at us!
To finish I want to basically tell you of a really great experience that we had. Saturday night we were headed up to a cita up on one of the Mountain sides in valle and quite a walk from our house but it had been just our luck that the citas right before had fallen though and we found ourselves headed up a bit early so we just figured we would open the mouth a couple times where we were and then head up. It was right then that Elder Skoubye told me, Hey lets contact right here. So we walked right up to the gate of this house and started just yelling "Buenas" like always and after a couple times a man came to the door and we introduced ourselves through his screen door, but this day we had been focussing in teaching and sharing the Plan of Salvation so we told them we just need a good 10 minutes to share this message with him not neccisarily expecting him to open up to us but only god knows why he opened the door to us after a long day of work, as a cop in Teguc. We sat down with this man and started in talking about he family and our families and he started telling us he has 2 daughters and his wife that all live there with him. Right before we asked to say a prayer these two beautiful little girls of 7 and 9 years come in and sit on both sides of him and we couldnt help but to see the love in this little family! We started with a prayer and then he started to tell us how his wife is sick and wouldnt be able to sit with us, and that she had just layed down. We said it wouldnt be a big deal and went right into the lesson. We had only started witht the 3 questions that the Plan of Salvation answers when here comes his wife into the room, tired, definately sick, and just said that she really felt like she needed to hear what we have to say! Im not sure what we said after that but basically shared that the Plan that God has for us is centered on the famlily and things like that! This sweet little wife of this cute little family started to tell us of some hard times that she has had, that her family just means the most to her, and that this ocasion with all 4 of them sitting in the living room, chatting with friends or anyone... had been the first time in over 8 years because it was almost impossible to find them all together as a family! I told her that this was not random and that the lord called us to come to her house, to share this message of a plan of happiness and that our father in heaven wants the best for them. She just began to cry, and when she started to cry, her two sweet little daughters began to cry, even to the point that this very serious, tough, and all of the above, Police, got tears in his eyes. In this moment the spirit just swarmed in this room and none of us could deny it! After we realized this plead for just a 10 minute lesson had just turned into nearly an hour, we then shared testimony, and ended with prayer and was definately one of those moments in the mission that I couldnt deny the fact that the lord sent us there that night, that this plan that we are called to teach, was at that exact time, intended for that family, and that I will never forget that moment seeing true love in a family, that I honesly havent seen in a long time in my mission! It was truely something else!
Im not sure why I felt like sharing this story and my testimony with all of you but I hope that it touched someone with the realization that God really does have a plan for us and that when there is a family that needs to hear this message, that the missionaries, like i said early, will be thrown at them. This plan that we teach, is nothing more then just a plan of happiness and that there is nothing that I love and miss more then my own family back at home. This is the true church!!
I already dont have much time cuz we gotta head back to Valle now but I want you all to know how much I love you all, and that the more we study this plan of Salvation, the more happiness we will find in our lives!
Bryson I wanna wish you a happy birthday tomorrow buddy and I hope you have a good one! Dont worry your card is on its way just running a little late! Love you!
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week, wish us luck for this saturday as we have another baptism and then maybe 3 or 4 next saturday! Keep us in your prayers! Thanks for everything! Less then 20 days and Ill be callin home.....ahhh!
Until Next week!
Love Elder Gardner

Saturday, November 27, 2010

gorgeous waterfall

Eating sugar cane for the first time, YUM

102 people at church this week!

Hey Fam!!

Well wow what a week its been here in Valle de Angeles! This one was definately one where I feel there is too much that has happened to be able to fit it all in one email especailly with the time that I have! Saturday like I mentioned last week we had the baptism service and everything went really well. We even got 2 investigators to come and stay for the whole thing! Elder Reyes baptized this time around and right before the baptism one of the other missionaries that are in Valle with us gave a talk on Baptism and then all the sudden I got called on to speak on the Holy Ghost without any preparation or anything but it turned out well, I just taught the way that I was taught when I was baptized, that the Holy Ghost can be our best friend when we are keeping the commandments and just simple things like that because there was also an 8 year old little girl from the branch that got baptized too! This was a really good baptismal service, wish you all could have been there!
For some reason I cant think of what happened this week because I forgot this week to look through my journal and remember what happened but as missionaries we really are starting to find more and more success as we are workin hard! Yesterday we had 102 people in the church and the amazing thing is that were just a branch, and not yet a ward. But thats our goal, we are just trying to find all the inactive or whatever melchezidic preistood holders in the branch so that we can have a total of 25 active and worthy preistood holders in the branch, or that are at least paying tithing and so far thats been the hardest part for us, because there are plenty of men, just not active or worthy sometimes.
Also at church yesterday we started a new class, as the missionaries, teaching the Gospel Principles book so that they can all better understand the priciples. The thing was though that the teacher of all the youth never showed up and no one from the branch was willing to teach it so they pulled me out to teach from the OLD TESTIMENT of all things, to about 18 youth kids, because right now there are 4 missionaries in Valle, 2 greengos, me and one other new missionary that doesnt hardly know any spanish still, but I survived!
Today as an entire zone, everyone else all came to our area so that this morning we could make the hike up to some waterfalls that are in our area so that was a lot of fun! It gave me more of the feeling of what I thought Honduras was gonna be like! It was so gorgeous up there, about a 45 minute hike but definately worth it! I sent the best pictures that I could but without my camera it was pretty hard but hopefully some other time, within the time that Im here we can go up there again when I have my camera! I really wish you all could have seen these waterfalls!
Thats about all I got for today and now I gotta go but I love you all so much, and love this church so much! You all better have fun this thursday and eat all you can, while im here eating the usual rice, beans and eggs haha nah its alright!

Love Elder Gardner

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just Open your mouth!

Hey fam and friends!!

So the last little bit its been getting pretty cold in Valle de Angeles so earlier this week I had to go buy me a sweatshirt and sweatpants to wear at night or I would never get out of bed because its cold in the mornings! The days have been pretty warm lately other then one day of being rained out while up in the mountains! I just know that once again every time im getting rained on in the mission field my future wife is just getting more and more beautiful... right??? I hope so!
Earlier this week its been a struggle for me because my companion just has not been wanting to work so I started putting goals with him that at 11 after studies we have to open our mouth with 10 people before lunch thats it and the first day we tried that, we didnt get out till 11:30 but we got out! After just 6 times opening our mouth we had taught two lessons and found a new family. Two teachers and a young couple, not yet married but we just met with them for the 2nd time yesterday and they remain really positive. We ended up opening our mouth12 times that morning with 3 lessons taught and It was just proof to my companion that if your obedient that you will see the fruits because he keeps trying to tell me that theres no one to teach, the members dont help, and the people dont want anything!! Well we all know thats not true but weve been getting better and iv found that the only way to avoid a bad companionship is just hard work! It seems to be the solution to a lot of things!!
I have to tell you about this sweet old lady that we found the other day thanks to Sister Cordova, the owner of our appartment, because this lady named Doña Amparo is one of her best friends and basically second mother is what she said! From our very first visit, planned just to get to know her, we found out why! We showed up at her house at about 5 and talked, really got to know her, and she told us alllll kinds of stories about her life and how the lord has blessed her so much and then we got a delicious dinner. She actually has quite a bit of money as far as we understand becasue she has this beautiful house and living very well with the support of her very successful kids! Also her husband was the main guy of one of the biggest banks of Honduras but passed away about 6 years ago. She has really become basically just like our grandma, she makes juices and jams from every fruit basically and all kinds of candy and home maid sweets she gives us every time we have come over! Just a couple more visits and I will probably be able to tell you her entire life story, but its been fun!
We put a batismal date with a 14 year old kid this week, and reference from his good friend int he ward, I might have told you that he braught 3 friends to the church last week, but anyways yeah two of them have dates! Its been a really successful, stressful, and interesting week for us all at the same time. We saw some incredibly beautiful Honduras Landscape hiking up to some houses of inactive members, with the help of other members actaully but wow we are also finding out how big our area really is through hiking up to all the inactive members! Im amazed more and more every day about how beautiful this country really is! I love it!
Thats about it for this week, and this saturday we have another baptism so the work is comin along little by little!!
Thank you all for your love and support once again!!
I love you all!

Love Elder Gardner

PS Everyone wish my mom a Happy Birthday this wednesday!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

marriage and then baptism

Marriage and Baptism

Hey Fam and Friends!!

Well there is a ton that I have to say this week because a ton happened so Ill just save obviously the best for last. So Monday after sending the email i went to a store and found Camilo (my most recent baptism from Sabanagrande), I went and bought him a white shirt and a couple ties and a triple to send out to Sabanagrande and im hoping its just getting to him today and hopefully I can give him a short call this week to find out how he is doin! We had a service project to cut grass of one of the less active members and wow iv never missed the blessings of lawn mowers so much. There was 4 of us missionaries, 3 machetes and one antique rusty rotating blade push grass cutter, if that doesnt explain it well enough I dont know what else wood because I didnt get any pictures but it was a project to say the least! After 5 hours of work and then a big bonfire to kill all the grass we got some beans, cheese and tortillas! Delicious!
To sum up the rest of the week to get to the other good stuff we were at Sister Cordova´s (lady who lives in the states and is the owner of where were renting) and she is trying to rent out her place and we just happened to be there when some people came in that couldnt speak much Spanish so while some were looking at the house, I taught the 3 others about the church and actually placed my first English Book of Mormon with her and havent seen them since but its been fun to learn how to teach in the both languages now.
We also taught a lady who after 30 minutes of talking to us about the gospel and sharing different scriptures she told us she is scared of god, doesnt want to know the truth (her exact words) and wouldnt even take a pamphlet about the restoration afterwards because of it... im still trying to figure out the lesson I was supposed to learn from that but its been something else trying to find people to teach here in Valle de Ángeles but an adventure at the same time! Im learning so much about myself out here and about my personal spiritual strength to pull my companion out the door each day to work and teach him that a lesson isn't just going to members house and playing PlayStation... its been tough but were getting better!

To get to the good stuff... obviously from the pictures we married Eduvijes and Neftali Salgado Valasquez. This was my first marriage and this couple weve been working with for a long time. Eduvijes has been receiving the lessons for a while from us and from before I got here and then the first week I got here we placed the marriage date for this past friday and then her baptism for Saturday. Neftali had a lot of doubts and worries about getting married but we finally got them both to accept. Friday afternoon we all met up at the marriage place in Valle and after an hour an a half and lots of worries and doubts that they just wouldnt show up... they showed but the power had been out in the whole pueblo so they were working forever on just typing the documents up on an old school typewriter. The pictures that you have are the ones in the marriage/conference room where Eduvijes is signing and Neftali fingerprinting because he never learned to read or write and therefore sign but regardless after about 3 hours we finalized the marriage, they kissed and we were ready for the baptism of Eduvijes! Next day was Saturday we went to the church early to fill up the font for the baptism at 3, the plan was were gonna have 3 baptisms, one being hours, the other of the other missionaries that are in Valle with us, and then a 8 year old girl. Surprisingly the only one that didn't show up was the 8 year old girl because of one reason or another. I ended up baptizing Eduvijes and we had a really good baptismal service thanks to the faithful relief society president and her husband and the president of the branch!!

Other quick great news is that Noel Castro... just sent in his mission papers on Friday and I have been dying to talk to him but we haven't had any minutes on the phone that we have until today but Iv talked a lot about him from all my time there in Sabanagrande and now his time has finally come and Im hoping to give him a call sometime this week! Im so excited for him!! It should be about 3 months or so before he gets his call is what I hear but they are in! Time is going by so fast!
Thats about all I had today but you should all know that I have such a firm testimony in this gospel and that this work here is the work of the lord. We arent only Finding, Teaching, and Baptizing... we are building the kingdom of the lord here on the earth! I know that to be true and wouldnt deny the truthfulness of this gospel for anything in the world! I know the strength of families is what means more then the world to me right now at this time in my mission and in my life when I need it the most! Its when I need it that I can find it in the letters from home! Dont worry im not baggy or trunky whatever you want to call it... im just learning more and more every day about the importance of my family in my life! Without knowing that you all are there supporting and praying for me each day... I wouldnt be able to do it here! The prayers of each one of you are being answered and mean more then the world to me! This is my testimony and love that I wish to express to you all today so that you know how much I care!
Love you ALL so dang much!! Muah!!

Love Elder Gardner

Monday, November 1, 2010

October has come and gone

Hey Fam!

Well another great week in Valle de Angeles! Me and Elder Reyes have been working really hard and we start seein some of our fruits this weekend! This friday we are going to be going through with a wedding and then saturday I will be baptizing the wife, I met her the first night that I got here to my new area and my comp asked who she would like to baptize her and she pointed at me so this saturday is the lucky day! Its quite a bit of hike to their house, but just as it was with Laura in Sabanagrande... its always worth it. The people here that accept the gospel so easily and truely change their lives are those humble, poor, and just loving people! This family is a family of 4 so we will be completing a family and the oldest kid will be baptized shortly but its just the husband that doesnt want anything as for now! He is ok with getting married but doesnt want anything to do with the church! Its been tough, but I know someday he will be baptized!
Yesterday in church we had 110 people... and wow, its almost like back home again, just short another 300 but i was blown away! We had 3 of our investigators in church yesterday, including another new guy who came in just because he was intested. The church is incredible so it definately draws the attention of those that come through town! This last weekend also, it was incredible how many greengos came through town, saturday night the park was filled with drunks and lots of white people, but during the day I was able to talk to a couple of them and amazingly they had never heard of the church until we said THE MORMONS, everyone knows us by that name, and its hardly ever good things, so its been tough! I contacted one guy in a souveneir store that was from Texas and had married a Honduran lady but has had a house in Teguc for 9 years now but he had a business partner who is LDS, has 12 kids, and 6 Returned missionaries, and is a return missionary himself from a spanish speaking missionary, but the guy that I talked to wanted nothing to do with me, he told me he had read the Book of Mormon so I asked him what he thought, and he said it was all lies and tried to explain to me that some Joseph Smith couldnt have gone back in time and lived with the Ancient Indians and then wrote the book.... oh dear! I told him basically that thats not right, just had some of his facts mixed up and so i cleared everything up and by the end he wanted to talk with me a whole lot more. He lived in Teguc so I took a reference. It was amazing how HARD it was to teach him in English, Im already forgetting all the important gospel vocabulary words in english! I never thought I would be able to share the gospel in English here in Honduras as much as I have but theres lots of greengos that come through. Its been fun!
So its been getting kinda cold where were at up in the mountains and since I sent my blanket home in the MTC i had to buy me one here because I was freezin my butt off at nights. It was tough though going through the souvenier stores looking for a blanket and not wanting to buy all the other legit Honduran stuff. Theres so many things that I wanna buy but just wouldnt do me any good.
Well I dont have much more time, or much more to say other then everything is going really good. I love my new area and my testimony is getting bigger every day! I know that God lives, and loves each and everyone of us! This is the true church!

Love you all so much!!

Love Elder Gardner

Thursday, October 28, 2010

City of Angels

Hey Fam,

Well the changes were hard, a lot harder then i thought they would be, sayin the good byes to all the members and investigators there in Sabanagrande was really tough. We set out tuesday, our last day of the change together with me and Elder Broderick and went to go visit first of all with all the members and one after another we had the farewell talk and the ones I never expected would cry, cried and ya I think I learned a little more about what the mission is really like and how hard it can be! I gave a farewell, or Persever to the end, talk and then we left but we ended up being 6 for 7 as far as putting everyone in tears! When we got home I was havin a hard time and realized how much i really would love to stay in Sabanagrande but sure enough the phone call came tuesday night and I had changes, and here I am in my new area called Valle de Angeles! I had only heard of this area before because it is just gorgeous and really touristical, but I had no idea. I thought Sabanagrande was green, well this is in the other side of the woods, litteraly. When we leave Teguc to go back to Sabana we head south, to go to Valley of Angels we go north and way up in the mountains! I dont think you guys would believe how beautiful it is driving up the mountains of Honduras, I love it! When I first got there, with my companion Elder Reyes, from El Salvador, we passed the sign that says Welcome and mentions that its a very touristical area, and every weekend supposedly we get lots of gringos, or americans that come though to visit! I only met one group of them as they were eating dinner out side in one of the restraunts there in the pueblo and they all pointed and said hey, thats a greengo! Obviously its not worth it for me to try to teach or share much with them because my comp doesnt understand any English and they were a bit drunk, but this is apparently the life in Valley of Angels.
Something I didnt think I would ever see is the kind of house that we have. Our house is like a little luxury house, beleive it or not we have hot showers and running water 24/7! I cant even tell you how excited I was to hear that! The owner of the house is from the states, grew up here and everything, but married a Peruvian and moved to the states. Just with my luck I got to know her my first days here as she was here vacationing. She and her husband both graduated from BYU and now live in Texas/Honduras. She taught english and pretty much speaks it perfectly. Her husband is actually a Real Estate Agent in Texas, I havent had the chance to meet him yet but I got to talk to here about Real Estate for a bit, in English even. That was nice! Shes a really sweet lady and appartently makes us amazing breakfast if she is ever there staying in the house by us. They have a couple houses here in Honduras and go back and forth! 
So the Valley of Angels, is most likely where ill be for Christmas and im super stoked about that because its so beautiful here, theres quite a bit more members here then in Sabana and im excited to see what they will do for the missionaries for christmas. Weve already gotten one invite for dinner sometime around Christmas. Its really just sneakin up on me, I cant believe its already almost November! The actual church building here is incredible, its only a couple years old and huge! For only 87 people on average that show up for church, and what we had yesterday, thats not too bad! Church was interesting for the first time here, first of all because we didnt have to teach in any of the hours because theres members who actually have callings here, and the members actually offer us help here! In Sabanagrande me and Broderick taught 2nd and 3rd hour, Seminary, Institute, and English, but here we dont have to do anything sundays other then just make sure our investigators show up! I love it here to say the least! Oh and here there are tons of Souvenier stores with hammocks, and all kinds of cool legit Honduras things, its hard for me to walk by all these places because obviously im a greengo and they have way cool stuff. But maybe eventually Ill be able to return near the end of my mission and get some cool stuff!
But anyways...I dont have much time today but this is a quick update about the area where Im at now and I want you all to know that I love it here!!

I love you all!

Monday, October 11, 2010

the members that showed up for General Conference

Colton, Camilo, Noel

The Power of Conversion

Hey Fam,
Well what a week! Im now experiencing both sides of Honduras weather. The past couple weeks it had been raining non stop as you know but now as it is, we havent seen rain for over a week and a half! Its starting to get really really hot now which is good and kinda stinks at the same time but oh well.
Im having a hard time thinkin about everything that happened this week other then our baptism that we had of Camilo Mejia which your lookin at pictures of. We spent a lot of time on divisions because our District Leader had to come out to interview him but during the divisions when I was in Teguc with another elder, and Elder Broderick was there in Sabanagrande they asked Camilo who he would like to baptize him and he mentioned me because he knows im going to be leaving soon and me and him had just really hit it off as good buddies since the day we met him. So that was a cool experience for me to hear that he wanted me to baptize him. Saturday was obviously the day of the baptism and we had spent all day friday and saturday morning visiting with the members and inviting everyone to the baptism and what you see in the picture is all that were there. I believe there was only 8 total in the whole baptismal service. Something kinda funny though about the baptism is that the clothes that we had first picked out for him when he went to try them on... they didnt fit. I had already gotten dressed in my all white so we sent Noel and Elder Broderick to go grab the bag of other clothes and luckily we had one that fit better but ah Camilo, this 62 year old humble man, with no family or friends other then us the missionaries to see him get baptized. He was soo nervous about the whole thing and just not really knowing what to expect. We started the service and me and Elder Broderick gave little talks and testimonies and then I climbed down on in for the 3rd time now into that freezing cold water and then helped him and his shaking hands down, and did the best I could just to remember his 5 names haha but no it just went exactly as planned and was an amazing service. The spirit really got to me and I could tell it really touched him in realizing how real this is!
The next day at church, yesterday, we only had 22 but Camilo showed up early and everything with his soccer jersey, tucked in, because he has no white shirt or tie, but reguadless, we gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost and confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Every baptism I have had up to this one seems like nothing compared to his. I believe its only beause I was a part of finding him on the street, to giving him the book of mormom, to placing the baptismal date, and confiming him. Its a confirmation to me that this is the true church, that it truely does change lives, and I  CANNOT DENY the power of conversion!
I dont really have much more to say, nor time but I want this to be a testimony to all of you that this is the true church, the church of Christ! The gospel is just as alive here in Sabanagrande Honduras, as it is in the states! Maybe not as liveLY but its alive! I gain a better realization of what true love is, and its that which the Lord has for me, and for all of us. That which is found in a family. I love my family so much, and this isnt me being trunky, or baggy, whatever you wanna call it. I love my family, extended family, and all my friends and want all of you to know of my UNBREAKABLE TESTIMONY! I feel of your love and support each day!
Thank you all!
Until Next week!!
Love Elder Gardner

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

General Conference

Hey Fam and Friends,
Obviously today isnt my Pday and here I am emailing but its just because we had no time to use internet in the city other then the 20 minutes I had in the morning and then when we got back to Sabanagrande somehow the internet had been knocked out because of the wind here I guess so we had no way to email so here I am.
Um just to jump into the update for this past week, it was awesome. We were in Teguc almost all week on divisiones and then all weekend for conference. I remember looking at this past weekend when we got the new september calendar and thinking it was so far away and now its already passed. Time is just going by way too fast. I just got my 4th calender already in the mission. I still feel like I just got here.
So this week we spend just as much time as we could visiting and inviting everyone that we could think of to come to the General Conference because the mission was helping us out with some money to pay for a bus to carry all the people that we could get to come to conference. With all the time that we spent traveling and going back and forth from Teguc and back it was really hard and we only had till wednesday and a couple hours thursday to gather everyone up before we took off to Teguc to stay for the weekend. Thursday we had our weekly district meeting and then booked it back to sabanagrande because we always have about an hour long bus ride everytime but it went really good. We set a companionship record for invites and lessons given in one day so we were really workin hard. Friday we had to be in teguc at 8 in the morning for a Zone Conference so we were up way early to catch the bus again and be there on time, plus we had to bring out suits and extra clothes and all that for the rest of the weekend cuz it wasnt worth it for us to go back an forth so much.
So anyways It was finally saturday morning and conference was about to start so we ran to one of the grocery stores down the street from the Zone Leaders house, where we stayed, and went to go buy us some treats and fatty snacks to eat while watching the conference. For conference we got our own room there in the stake center and all of us greengos just chilled and watched the english channel. I could go on forever about cool personal revelations that I got from the conference but I dont have time today.
Sunday morning showed and we were waiting for the bus with all of our members to come and sure enough at 930 they all show up and in a little van because turned out the bus driver couldnt come but they crammed 24 members, kids and all into a little rapidito van thing, of a non member... and showed. Its was such a miracle right there in front of us. I just love them all so much!!
I dont want to tell about a funny story that happened on suday night after dinner and sayin hi and checkin up on all the investigators of the zone leaders we were all walking back home together at like 9, all 6 of us. Theres this long dirt road that we walk down and it was late at night and there happend to be no one there on the road so one fo the elders said lets have a race.... good idea right, especially on the crappy dirt roads of Honduras. Well to make a long story short we started running and when I was slowing down at the end i stepped in this Honduras Pot hole and ate it hahah scraped up my elbow and knee real good and got my suit pants all dirty. To say the least... this weekend was a blast. We got to listen the good word of God and in english at that. Also to spend some good time with other missionaires and hear about their testimonies and conversion stories. It truely was an amazing weekend. 
We have a baptism this weekend of Camilo Mejia, the guy who I mentioned a couple weeks back. Well he has never stopped being just a miracle. When we visited with him last night we was on page 215 in the book of mormon and we gave him that book like 2 and a half weeks ago. Its truely been a miracle to watch him go from a drunk, to finding us, to giving him a book of mormon, reading one chapted with him, placing a baptismal date, to now only a couple days away from his baptism. So you can all look forward to those pics coming this next week!!
Thats pretty much it but I want you all to know I love you all so much and am grateful for your support and prayers!
Love Elder Gardner
Les quero mucho!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ups and Downs

Hey Everyone!
Well this week was definately a week of ups and downs! All of Honduras celebrated their days of Independance this week so in Sabanagrande it was a bit hard to contact or even find people in their homes during those two days in the mornings especially. Theres a big park in the middle of Sabanagrande in front of the big catholic church and so all the schools here planned different dances from each grade, but yeah its interesting to see how different countries and collonies celebrate the Holidays!
Also this week... the rain still hasnt let up and all the roads in aposonigua are just horrible. Just a bunch of mud holes is all. Reguadless in order to get up to Laura weve gotta go through it. Now I have combat boots, and unfortunately Elder Broderick doesnt so we headed up there earlier last week and trying to stay on the side or on top of the rocks is nearly imposible and yeah lets just say the mud got the best of us! We will be lucky if our shoes last 6 more months in these conditions because i havent been able to remember my boots everytime and we definately have walked home completely soaking wet and mud up over our ankles as you can see in the photos.. but reguardless we know every time our future wives are gettting more and more beautiful every day! Thats for sure!
So that 8 year old girl, Suany... I dont know if I said last week but she came up to me in church, tapped me on the arm, and asked me if I would baptize her.. a moment ill never forget. Well her baptism is this saturday so im definately looking forward to that. its not gonna be a baptism for the mission, but for the Branch... and for the journal and life long memories thats for sure! Weve got alot to teach her this week but Iv never seen her family more happy then they have been with us over there teaching them all! I just love the mission so much!
For the best story of the week... so about 3 weeks ago there was a man on the street that came up to us and asked us for something to read about our church. So to start off we of course gave him just a pamphlet and then his directions but in Honduras there is no such thing, the next day and following week or two we couldnt find this guy who for the first time in our missions had someone come to US and ask for something but theres nothing more that we can do if we cant find his house. So this last week on our way to go teach Suany one night we ran into him, and he asked for something else to read becasue he had read it and had been looking for us! Well we were late to our appt but gave him a plan of salvation paphlet and then had him show us where his house was so we could stop by! So the next day we passed by his house with the intentions to give him some real reading, the Book of Mormon and he was there!!! Nearly a miracle if you know anyhting about our area... well we taught an amazing lesson and left the 3rd Nephi 11 wiht him and set a return appt. We left and realized that the Lord had to send him at us 2 times for us to get a clue! So friday we went by his house again and he was litteraly sitting there reading the Book of Mormon and had already ready that chapter, and started in the beginning of the Book of Mormon and was on page like 15 but it truely just was so amazing. We aked him if he had any questions about what he had read, and to our amazement told us everything about the chapter, and said, well it talked alot about baptism and just was really clear... where is this place that I need to be baptized?... me and Broderick just looked at each other and smiled in amazement, pointed out where our little chapel is and then put the date of the 9th of October to be baptized and he accepted right of the bat! The Lord truely is working with us, and inserting his hand, and slowly sending people right to us! This was truely amazing for us, and especially for my testimony, because I was the one who got to actually say the works "se bautisara", basically will you be baptized! 
This week was just so amzing and were looking at 2 maybe 3 baptisms already this month! We are so stoked about that!
Thats about all I got to say this week and were out of time but I want you all to know how thankful I am for all the support, and I know the lord hears and answers our prayers! He lives! 
I love you all!
Love Elder Gardner

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Miracles and Disasters

Hey Fam and Friends!
Well yeah lots of things are changing in the mission right now and I didnt have changes so me and Broderick are here again, and Ill be going on almost having 5 months in this same area but its alright becasue the truth is, its getting so much better and we are doing our best to get to know just everyone we can so that we can find more oportunities to teach!
Speaking of that... we found ourselves a miracle family of 5 this week! On Friday night we were out walking around and remembered one sister that we had talked to the week before but she didnt know when to tell us to come back becasue her kids are always gone and her husband is always working, nevertheless, we passed by her house to find her husband sitting there watching TV so we started talking with him and somehow hit it off with him real quick and then the sister that we had talked to a week before came out to greet us too, and before we knew it he shut the TV off and they both sat down to listen and I saw at least 2 of her 3 kids in one of the back rooms so before we asked to say a prayer and sing a song I invited them into the room for just a little message that we had for them. Its hard for me to describe what happed after that but we got one of her sons involved in the lessons and he read some scriptures for us and then before leaving when we left the chalenge with them to read and pray to know these things are true... I found myself looking into the eyes of a family of 5 just so intently listening. Directly after that I felt prompted before the closing prayer to teach them the manera a prayer and then kinda jokingly asked if one of them would want to try it becasue no one ever wants to do that on the first visit but to our surprise her 10 year old son raised his hand and litteraly couldnt have said a more perfect prayer! We are seeing miracles here in the work and ah we were just on cloud 9 walking home that night! 
For bad news though, and just a background on the weather here in SabanaGrande... it has rained every single day for over 5 weeks now and lately the mud and earth has really been getting loose. Well the night after this amazing night and lesson with this beautiful family it rained and rained and reained almost all day and night and when we were returning from appontments in aposonigua completely soaking wet, and walking in mudd and water filled roads up to above our ankles...we make it back to our house to find out that our neighbors house flooded and there were about10 helpers and neighbors helping her just sweep and mop out all of the mud that had came into her house during this ridiculous storm. Worst part is that they didnt get the worst of it. This family Enamorado that we taught the other night, the level of this river behing their house raised over 8 feet and rushed in and through their tiny little house, filling it with over 4 feet of water and ruining evberthing that they had... clothes, money, and their own dining table was taken with the river. To make a long story short we tried all we could to help them but they lost everything and I just wish on everything that the church was strong enough here to help them out but we couldnt do anything to help them...ugh its just so sad! 
We are doing all we can to get back to teaching them again but for now they have no house so Ill have to let you know what happens this next week! 
Best news of all is that we had 32 in church yesterday, thats the most weve had in the church in over 3 months so we were just stoked about that! We are finally seeing the fruits of our labors! The work is just so great. I know the church is true and I cant even tell you how stoked I am for General Conference coming up! 
Im out of time now though so Until next week! I love you all and appreciate the support! 
Love Elder Gardner 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thanks Mom for the CTR rings

Hey Fam and Friends!

Well its just crazy how fast the weeks go by here, it seriosly seems like every day im here in this little ciber writing emails. But anyways just an update about this week, it was amazing! Me and Broderick have been fasting and praying A LOT in this area in the past couple weeks and its been this past week that we have been starting to see the results! 
Oh and mom about those CTR rings, or rather the Haz Lo Justo rings that you sent me... well me and Elder Broderick went to one of our member families because they have 3 kids that are just perfect to have a little Family Home Evening with them and shared some scriptues with them and then I gave them all a ring to wear and explained to them why the church makes them and all that, it just was so perfect. Its always so hard to leave their house because Sister Lidia just loves us so much but she asked me for a ring to so now there are 4 in that little humble house that are all wearing the rings that you send me. I also gave them to the 3 teenagers that live up in apasinigua and they just loved them. Its so incredible to see the what an impact that the simple little things do, like the little probably 5 cent rings, and they are pricless here! That was such a great idea to send those!
Something rare also happened to us this week when we were out contacting, we ran into our first Honduran that does not believe in God or anything to do with him. He ranted on and on about how we are just crazy to believe in something that we have never seen, but I just said to him... do you believe in air? have you seen it before? Well of course not... but we just explained that to us.. that is faith. We dont have to have a knowlege or perfect understanding of something to know, and most importantly feel that there is a God and that he does love us! Just look around at everything that we have! It obviously got to the point where we couldnt forse him to believe anything we were saying so we just told him we gotta go and, Que Dios le bendiga! God bless you basically and he just laughed but ya know we did what we needed to do and I learned a good lesson that day. We know that there is a section in Preach my Gospel for the people that dont believe in God but we just skip over it because everyone believes in God, but I was wrong and I wished I would have studied that section! 
This month in our zone we had the 2nd lowest baptisms in all of the mission, we had 5. So this last friday we had an 8 hour training on different teaching strategies and President just basically shaved us if you know what I mean, but I learned sooo much and it turned out to be really good! 
Yesterday morning we once again woke up really early to go out and gather our members for church, but once again the majority of the less active members just came up with an excuse. Here even the kids of the member families scream MOMMY THE MORMONS... and then they know to come up with a quick excuse but it really is ridiculous here sometimes. Regardless we did have 20 at church yesterday and 5 new investigators if you can believe it. So we were real happy about that! 
Also this week we have changes and iv been in SabanaGrande for 3 months now so most likely it will be me that will go to a different area so we spent a lot of time yesterday visiting with the little member families that we have and getting pictures with all them.
Thats pretty much it though for this week! Youll have to wait till next week to find out where ill be, or if I change but as for me, wish me luck! Im stoked, nervous, and dont want to go at the same time just because I love all these people here so much! Especially our neighbor and lady that makes us dinner every night. Speakin of her just real fast, we watched the Testiments with with her yesterday and it litterally brought her to tears... everyone ours and im sure your prayers are being answered. We are striking success in an area that no one thought was possible! I love this church so much and know that its true!
Please everyone take care and know how much I love each and every one of you!

Love Elder Gardner

Me and Jenny and Allan again

Jennifer and Allan with the rings on

Monday, August 30, 2010

Livin' and Loven' life

Hey Fam and Friends!
Ah such an amazing week! It was hard to make a list of things to say but I have pictures and thats all you all really care about anyways right?? haha Um we learned how to make baleadas from our Relief Society President this week because she promised she would show us how before changes, which are next week. Mainly because we dont know who is going, and who is stayin and me and Elder Broderick have been learning all kinds of cheap easy things to make for lunch so we mine as wall add to the recipie box mom sent and make my future companions, family, and family when I get home proud and learn how to make some legit Honduran food! Oh its sooo good too! Simple... but good!
So anyways just an update with us here in SabanaGrande... we are alive. But something interesting, we found out that our only investigator... this Golden Hna Laura Avila. Well her sister turns out was baptised into our church when she was 14, had her first kid when she was 15, and is now living just up the hill aways from her house so with the help of Hna Laura we got her to church again for the first time since her baptism and shes almost 21 and braught her little son with her to church. I had planned to teach the lesson for the second hour but when they showed up our branch president decided to take over and ended up teaching for like two hours and he is famous for his shaving teachings... if you dont know what that means its just like really chastising teaching where he just shaves the people of all their wrong doings and brings them to repentance! So I was just dying and felt so bad for Laura and her sister there but i just prayed and prayed that they wouldnt take it the wrong way, but that was last sunday and everything is still good with them so it wasnt to bad! Um yesterday at church we had 18 total, including us as missionaries and the branch president. 8 when sacrament was gven! It never fails that its just so disapointing. Especially when me and Elder Broderick wake up at 6 to shower and leave by 7 to hike up to Aposonigua to pick up 3 youth boys, 2 of them being the two baptisms that we had last week, because without us they wouldnt come. Its a tough life out here, but ugh i just love it so much! The mission is so great, I litteraly and understanding everything and speaking with a tounge that I never though i would be able to! Spanish is so much fun and i love speaking it!
Our goal right now and lately because contacting just hasnt been working for us so we have been doing all we can to find the other 200 inactive memebers that we supposedly have here and just trying to figure out what we can do for them. They day we set out to do that we ran into 2 on accident just at a Pulpuria buying water and turns to find out she was baptised like 30 years ago before the chapel that we have now was even there, she was baptized in a river. But believe it or not, the church up and just left the area. We dont know, or probably will ever know what happened but there was over 60 members at that time meeting in a little house and having the 3 hours of church and everything. I just wanted to cry when I heard her say that because she said she just wept when she had no where to go, lost her book of mormon and all this kind of stuff. She started going to a baptist church and has been there since but she says she has pictures of the day of her baptism and of the missionaries back then so we set an appointment with her to see them and see if we can rebuild her testimony! Its just so sad what this area has been though, and no wonder the people and members are so hard here, the church up and left them for 7 or 8 years is what we heard. Ugh its tough and I feel so bad and have a hard time blaming them but ugh please pray for us and for the people here because they are so stuck on the traditions of their fathers, and their fathers fathers that they dont want to change nor listen to us!
I have such a strong testimony of this church and of all the teachings but theres not a day that goes by that I dont wish on everything that I could just show these people here, espially the members... what the church is really like in the states, and in Utah for example because they just dont know and understand, and for that are not able to appreciate the things that I know we sometimes take so much for granted! I feel that I am experiencing my own conversion right now in the trial of my faith here, but nevertheless... I know its true becasue I have, and had before my mission, a testimony of this gospel, and of the Living Christ. He lives and he loves us... just look around at the blessings that we have, and soak that moment in! Live in the moment... for a moment and share the good word of our amazingly true church with someone every day! One of the stakes here had a stake conference entitled CADA MIEMBRO UN MISSIONERO, EVERY MEMBER A MISSIONARY. This church is true and the book is blue! Thats my testimony and I sure do love you all so much and am so greatful for the support of each and every one of you!
Thank you so much! Keep prayin!
Dont forget how much I love you all!
Love your servant of the Lord,
Elder Gardner

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The last day with my trainer

on our last day together they hiked to the top of there area for these photoes

My New Companion elder Broderick from Page Arizona area

We are comps in Sabannagrande

Monday, August 23, 2010

A day with the President

Hola Familia y Amigos!
Well today I only have time to write one email because we just barely got back to our area, have dinner in just a bit and have other things that me and Elder Broderick need to do tonight. These P Days just go by way too fast. Today though I had Hijos de Heleman though, and thats where all the missionaries that came at the same time get together sometime usually in your second change and we all went up with President and his wife to see the Giant Statue of Jesus Christ and this big park thats up there just to go take pictures and what now so that was fun and I did get some good pictures. Afterwards we all went and had lunch on President of course and we all got Porpusas, just these really good tortilla and chicken, and cheese lookin things and wow that was just delicious! I got to see the other Greengos that I came with, Elder Carter and Belnap again, and they have been in the south where its just hotter then hot all the time and both of them have lost so much weight... wow! Iv pretty much stayed the same, if not just lost muscle weight but oh well! It was fun to see all them again!
So this last week we were supposed to have divisiones with our Zone leaders and have one come out to the area with me and the other go work another area with Elder Broderick... well the morning that we went to Teguc to go pick them up to head back out to SabanaGrande the Teachers had just started a giant March... just thousands of teachers and they were of course blocking all of the Roads and doing all kind of stupid things to cause attention and so we were stuck in Teguc for a day but it was good to go and work in the area of the Zone Leaders again with Elder Urbina, from Honduras, a 26 year old Convert... hes a really hard worker and I just loved working with him, its just really tough though because they have so much success there in the city, and the members are just soooo helpful for them, they NEVER contact, they just go to a Members house and get like 10 new families to teach... it was so incredible for me to see that! The members here in our area unfortunately know the attitude and have the attitude of everyone else here in SabanaGrande and truethfully they dont want to affend their friends, or something to that affect and so they never help us... it also doesnt help that we only have 18 or 19 total at church every sunday and hardly anyone in the church to recieve the Santa Cena, Sacrament! 
Anyways the mission is so great! I know the lord has put me here in this area as a trial of my faith thats for sure. But Im hangin in there and I KNOW that we are doing what we need to do, its just the people here dont want to hear it, or already have their own judgements about the church and will refuse to listen. Reguadless... we were called her to TEACH and thats exactly what we are doing, or trying all we can to do! 
So an update on Laura too... she is reading the Liahona, or the Ensign and I gave her the General Conference Ensign and she just loves it... cuz obviously this last one really focussed on the mothers and parents and she is just so amazed because she is starting to see the big picture of our chuch! Its been such a blessing to see her grow.. but we are still just stuck in the mud with her becasue we never get to talk to her husband and she hasnt had any success talking with him about marriage! But we still make the hike every other day and she is starting to make us and give us food now so its even better! I just have gained such a love for her and her spirit, It just makes me so sad that we cant move forward, cuz she really is MORE then ready! 
Thats about it... and I gotta run now but ugh I love the mission so much, trust me when I say that and know that I love you all so much and pray for you every single day! Truthfully! The lord truely is teaching me a hard but very humbling lesson right now but im so greatful that I have this chance to be here! Ah I love this church! 
Until next week! Cuidense todos!
les quierro!
Love Elder Gardner
PS sorry no photos, I have so many I want to send but dont have time!  

Monday, August 16, 2010

hours of contacting

Hey Fam,

Alright well this week sure did go fast.. Wow! But I went through my journal entries this week to come up with stuff to tell you because I still haven’t missed a single day in the mission yet! It really has become my best friend out here, sometimes it’s hard to come up with things cuz of how tired we are some nights but I love writing!
To start of this week, we got invited to come over to a Noche de Hogar, Family Home Evening, by one of the members and we were stoked about that, until we showed up from a long day and she tells us she didn’t have time to prepare a lesson so she asked us to give a short lesson. Turned out to be perfect because Elder Broderick had mentioned a game that he had played in the south with some small young families and so we played this little charity game and had every write their names, write something positive about themselves and then just pass it around to everyone else for them to write something positive on it too. Hermana Lidia, the mom, or Grandma rather, was brought to tears watching her family have fun and start to show love towards to each other for the first time in a long time and it just turned out to be such a spiritual lesson as we bore testimony of the strength of families and importance too, it really made me think about the things that we really do have back home, and then to see what they have... truly was yet another humbling experience!
This week in our contacting we decided to change our tactic to something different then the plan of salvation and really just focus and push the Book of Mormon on everyone, turns out that was exactly what we needed. Every morning in our studies we would study about the book of Mormon and how to better use it in our teaching and I really learned a lot. Earlier in the week we had almost straight contacting and we started just going all out to introduce everyone to the Book of Mormon and earlier for literally 4 hours straight one after noon we just did all we could to talk to everyone about what we have and how rare this possession really is... we had no success at all... until after the trial of our faith. It was literally the last 2 housed that we contacted that we got into and taught two just really powerful lessons. Now you probably think that that sounds wrong to contact for 4 hours and not get into the houses, especially here in Central America.. But its amazing how caught up the people in our area are in the traditions of their fathers. The majorities of the people have been talked to once before and just tell us they have their own church or they think that our church is of a man and they don’t want to listen to us. We have seen people in their houses and get up and run out of the room when we show up. I’m not one to complain but just to explain what happens when we don’t have success here. Its hard and gets to us sometimes but it never fails that we do get into that one house and talk to them about this amazing book that we have! We placed almost 10 book of Mormons this week, the hard part is getting the people to tell us a time when we can come back and they will actually be there. Regardless... I know we are doing what we need to and fasting and praying a lot to find people and I’m sure we will strike this golden family eventually!
Speaking of Golden people... Our little Diamond in the Rough from last change that we make the 45 min Hike every other day for... accepted baptism this last week, I just forgot to tell you last week. But right now we are just working on finding a time to talk to her husband to get them just married by the law! Its been really hard to talk to him because he is never home, but she told me and Elder Broderick that she read in the BOM and prayed about it and KNOWS that its true! She ALWAYS reads everything that we give her and it just was the most spiritual lesson when she basically bore her testimony to us about the fact that she knows that our church is the true church and so we of course felt prompted to ask her to get baptized and if it weren’t for her marriage she would be baptized! She is just so amazing to us and truly has become a really good friend of ours, its always worth the 45 min hike! Really is!
Something funny for ya’ll too ha-ha our neighbor and Cocinera lady had her birthday on Friday and invited us over for her party later that night; we were stoked about that cuz we had seen the cake and all the food that she had bought. Ha so we show up for dinner at our usual time and there’s all kinds of family and friends there and they are just blasting music and sitting in a big circle talking and what not! So we were starving so we go in and have some food and while we are eating everyone is asking us if we want a beer and almost forcing us to take one, which is dumb because they all know we cant have coffee... but they try to give us beer? ha its was funny and then when we finished they tell us to go in and start dancing so Elder Broderick jumps up and goes into the room and starts just dancing really funny and of course all these Latinos just love it because we are both just as greengo as they get and here we are dancing and making fools of ourselves. Ah it just was so much fun and now we know that the next time we run into anyone that was there that they will invite us in because they know that we are NORMAL people and we know how to have fun to. But who knows if we were in the wrong for having a little fun but its was worth is! Cake and food was amazing! ha-ha
Anyway that’s about it and I’m about out of time, but for everyone that is reading my emails... thank you all for your support and prayers. They are being answered... yo les prometo! Yo se que este Iglecia is the Iglecia de JESUCRISTO y El nos ama. Dios es nuestra padre celestial y tiene un plan para nosostros. Un plan para felicidad, un plan de misericordia! Tenemos lo mismo Iglecia de Jesucristo su mismo establecio en la tierra.
Sorry i just felt like doing a little Spanish there but I love you all, really really do! I hope you all have an amazing week and I love you all so much!

Love Elder Gardner

Monday, August 9, 2010

New recipes

¿Que onda?
Another week in the book and Ill be Celebrating 4 months this week, Its just so crazy. My comp celebrated 8 months in the mission today so we went and got a bunch of Baleadas this morning with another Elder in our Zone that has the same amount of time. I still havent heard a word or anything about how the other two Elders that I came with are doing? Ive been wanting to but they are both in the south and im sure just sweating like none other!
Mom you sure would be proud of your son this week though. We talked to our President of the Branch here, another Senior Missionary Couple, from El Salvador because he was a Chef at Hotels and all kinds of places before his mission and Baptism into the church and so we talked him into teaching us simple, cheap, but DELICIOUS meals to make so this week he has taught us how to make Arroz con Pollo and Spaghetti with this special sauce... ah they just were the best! They are simple and we could of course figure out how to make these things but he truely just has the touch. Iv been using that recipie box that you gave me mom and just writing down all these things and just adding them up. One of these days since I have the recipie to the Double Chocolate Chip cookies and Ill just have to find all of the ingredients here in the city one PDay but we let our Neighbor and Cocinera know that we will need to use her stove to cook them and then we would just watch a movie of the church with them and they were all for that so were stoked about that! The truth is Honduras doesnt know what real cookies are here, compared to those cookies anyways. Im so excited to do that cuz I just crave every day some good old american cookies sometimes haha!
Not much more happened this week just a lot of just contacting and no success yet! Its getting frustrating and old but im determined that as long as we just keep doing what we need to do, the Lord will bless us! Its hard at times especially when the Branch President here himself tells us that there is no hope and that the people in our area just dont want anything. But I got thinking one day while we were contacting... Is it the people that need the church... or the church that needs the people more?? Sometimes as missionaries we get caught up in thinking why dont the people just listen to us? or just discouraging things like that but we all know that the church is always going to go on without the members, but as long as keep the mindset that we were called to teach, and if the poeple dont want to listen then there isnt anything more that we can do! Im not sure why this is so hard today to come up with things to say, and I hope this Email doesnt sound depressing because Im not at all, and we have plenty of ANIMO in our companionship but I dont have anything new to say really today other then my Testimony is becoming more and more solid every day! I know with ALL MY HEART that this church is true and as many Jehovas Witnesses or Church Pastors that try to shoot us down the Bible it just comes down to our testimony and at times thats all we can leave with people here because its the only thing that they cant find something contrary to it! The work here is really tough but I know that the Lord put me there for a reason, and every day is a strugle to keep my thoughts positive but I can find happiness in my testimony, its the secret, it really is! I know that!
But thats about it Family and Friends! I love you all so much and know that the Lord is blessing my through your prayers and I pray that the lord will bless you every single day!
Do your best, and leave the lord the rest!
Love Elder Gardner