Monday, April 16, 2012

Last Words from Honduras

Hey Fam,

Its here! The day has come and I've been thinking all week about what it was that I wanted to say you all today being my last time to write from here in Honduras. Ive slowly been writing this all week for you guys for my last email... I got the idea from a poem I have read in the mission.

I think I found out what the mission is.....

Its impossible to describe a mission, but rather its the moments, Its sending in your papers. Its opening the call that is signed by a prophet of the lord. Its the 3 months of time before the MTC that seems like its never gonna end. Its the hug from parents and brothers and sisters and walking away in the greatest adventure of a life time. The MTC, the rules, the packages, the classroom, the firesides and devotionals (actually being disappointed when it's a Seventy speaking). Its flight plans, tons of food, testimonies, and cabin fever. Its the airport, a phone call sharing your first wanna be testimony in Spanish to your family as tears run down your face. Then out of the little swimming pool and into the ocean of uncertainty.

Its the mission presidents, trainers, realizing your didn't learn hardly any Spanish in those 9 weeks but loving it all at the same time. Its new food, new people, new culture, new language, new currency, new form of transportation, new routine, new everything under the sun (which is really hot). It's a lot of first that change: First district meeting, first contact, first lesson, first letter from home, first email, first Latin companion, first cold shower with water your not so sure you can touch and survive, first morning of trunkyness, first Sunday in church, first time a kid speaks and if and you turn to your comp to ask if that was Spanish and he only laughs, first First vision, first baptism... unforgettable, no matter how disorganized it is.

First changes come and it's all a blurr after that. Its being anxious for your companion to leave then to your surprise you miss him when he is gone. Its 99 contacts.. and nothing. Its shaking fingers, lying children (my mom says she's not here), and barking biting dogs. But its the hope that contact number 100 will be the one. The one that wants to change. The one who has been crying for help to a God that he or she wants to follow, but doesn't know where to find him. The one that seems perfect: perfect questions, perfect work schedule, married, perfect kids that don't scream during a lesson and most importantly, a desire to make it work even if everything isn't perfect. It's the hope of finding "the one" that gets you up every morning, gets you out of members house in 100 degree plus weather and when everyone is sleeping, and gets you to open your mouth and speak even though you don't speak well and don't like leaving your comfort zone.

Its finding the one, one convert, future priesthood holder, or better yet, one golden family. It's making plans, working with members, a lots and lots of prayers to help find that family. Many are found, but few choose to be chosen. It's thousands of disappointments as the family´s commitment falls to doubts, gossip, weather, or anything else clever that Satan comes up with on Saturday night. It's getting the family to church for the fist time and helping them feel at home. It's showing them the Church, presenting them to the bishop and other leaders, as well as the cute, outgoing teenage girl so that the young man in the investigator family will enjoy the experience as well. It's praying that the bishops 2 year old wont make too big of a fuss, that the speakers won't teach too much false doctrine, and that they will feel and recognize the spirit in spite of it all.
It's when that family gets baptized that the reality of what you are giving them hits you. It's the hope of having and eternal family. It's the hope of a better life, without pain and suffering. It's giving that hope which brings you the greatest satisfaction and joy that you have ever experienced.
It's like going back in time and appreciating what you had back home. It's the firm declaration that you will never complain about vacuuming again when actually have carpet, or mowing the lawn when you actually have grass.
It's having to shower with flip flops and washing your own clothes on those cement trays that you thought they only used in the pioneer days.... and you learn to love it.
Its stepping into a baptismal font with freezing cold water, flipping a bug out, and doing your best to put your happy face on so that the little girl getting baptized doesn't get cold feet.
Its getting home soaked 75-80% of the time, whether from the rain or sweat, It's sitting in front of a fan wondering if you can do this another day in the oven your living in.
Its Elders 14, Cockroaches 1 in a matter of just 2 weeks. Its letters and packages from home. It's wedding announcements, Dear Johns( luckily just to your buddies), pictures, and the realization that life does indeed move on without you!!
Its going through 3 pairs of shoes, ripped pants, missing buttons, shredded collars, and socks closer to heaven (holy).
Its ants, frogs, scorpions, cockroaches, rats, and the little bugs that give you killer diarrhea.
Its a rainstorm that soaks you and your comp cuz them so called umbrellas don't even work with true buckets are coming down on ya. It's walking through water up to your calves and not having anything else to do but laugh as people look at you like your crazy (which ISN'T a complete misconception)
 It's going out in the rain because an Elder once convinced you that for every rainstorm you work through, the hotter your future wife will be!
Its shortly after your year mark that you get a mini-calendar from your mom and sister and wondering if they are trying to kill you or if they think its gonna make time go by faster. From then on Its change day, Mothers day, Christmas Day, Hump Day, Birthday, P-day, Friendship Day, and Election Day (which always makes for an interesting Sunday). Its good days, bad days, killer journal entry days, and days that you just don't want to end. Those are the good ole days.
The days that cant be enjoyed without a price... hard work, sweat, discouragement, frustration, and faith.
Its discovering that God does hear and answer prayers. Sometimes He takes away from everyone else so that we can really get to know Him. Its coming to learn in a tiny degree, the power of the Atonement applies not only to vile sinners, but also to each individual, including you. Its feeling that power and knowing you'll never be the same.
Its knowing that you have a testimony and nobody can take that from you. Its building it one piece at a time. Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is true. the priesthood keys have been restored. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. its sharing that testimony dozens of times a day that roots it deeply in your soul.
Its watching missionary after missionary give their final testimonies, while you are certain that day will never arrive for you... and then it does. Its learning the live in the moment and not for the moment because all too soon, its gone. Its the sunsets, the music, the dirt dusty streets, dirty kids. the tiny houses, and the love of the people. its soaking it all in, catching every detail, because you'll never get it back.
Its arriving at the last couple days in your mission, knowing your family is waiting NOT so patiently. Its those last couple contacts that you know you will never see get baptized but you still just wanna leave your soul with them.
Its wondering about the effect of one mission. Does one mission really have eternal consequences? Does planting one seed, teaching one lesson, finding one person really matter at all?
Did the mission of ONE make a difference?
Did His ministry, His teachings, His seed planting have an effect on the eternities?
Did His one infinite atonement pay the price of justice and give mercy her claim???
As you get ready to go back to the former life that you're convinced was just a dream, its realizing that while you were in the service of your fellow being, your have only been in the service of God. Its feeling your hear and soul overflow with gratitude for the chance you had to show your worth, give your all, and return with honor. its BECOMING like the ONE, the Only Begotten, the Son of Man, the Prince of Peace, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind, even Jesus Christ. Its those two years for which you will eternally praise the Lord, as the life that was converted more than any other was only one--YOU
Its the tears that roll down your cheek as you write your last email. Its knowing that this poem could go on forever but you don't know, when, how, or where to stop. Its wanting to tell your family how much you love them and hoping they will accept this as a final testimony from Honduras knowing now... without a doubt... that this is the true church.

Its being able to say SEE Y'ALL IN 3 DAYS knowing that these 2 years may come to an end... but the mission never will, just new people, clothes, cell phones, and your family and old friends back!
Its not having to say... UNTIL NEXT WEEK, rather... see you soon enough!
Im over excited to see all of you... you have no idea.
Love you all!!
Love your missionary
Elder Gardner

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Single digits!!!

Hey fam,

I dont know where to start. I was trying to decide what it is that I really want to tell you all in the little time that I have! First of all... well I cant belive that my time is running down quicker then I want it to really cuz weve had some sudden problems with the marriage and baptisms that we are wanting to have this weekend. Its been a good week really even though it was hard with all the wickedness that was going on here since were soo close to the ocean here but we survived it. GET THIS!! Tuesday we went to Tegucigalpa for our beginning of the month Zone Leader meeting with president and the assistants and not even 30 minutes after we arrived there and this mad rainstorm came in and in the first time in A LONG time we saw HAIL!! I would send you all pictues of it but you will see them all soon, I just cleaned my memories cuz they were infected but anyways... that was super crazy and I couldnt believe it when we were in the Taxi and all the sudden Hail falls from the skies!!

So yeah after lots of work with our golden family this week... we all the sudden have probelms with Lilian´s mom. She hates the church and everything about it and since Lilian isnt quite 21 years old... until the 29th of this month... it means that in Honduras she is UNDERAGE and in order to get married she has to have permission from her mom to get married but her mom had told her that she wouldnt sign the paper cuz she thinks marriage is stupid and that there is no such thing as a faithful husband or man and that the church doesnt teach anything about families and thats why people in the church just get baptized and leave the church right after. Believe me... that was not good news. So in the moment that her mom told her no... we went over to her house to try to break the ice with her and see what we could do. She pulled everything out on us and when I nearly got in tears in silence cuz I didnt want to beleve what was just happened that all this hard work and waiting to be able to marry and baptize a family on the day that I complete 2 years in the mission. Well in that moment of silience... she said "Fine i will think about it" and we told her to not just think, but to pray about it. We were hoping to see her before coming to write you guys but when we went over there no one was home so its still a 50 50 chance that we would marry and baptize them this weekend. I just hope that my ferverant prayers will get answered and that the lord will humble her and so that she can go to the wedding and sign the simple peace of paper. Help us out in your prayers so that we can do this, this weekend!! Were gonna need it!

Thats about the only thing on my mind right now but other then the talk that I was called on to give yesterday in church on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it was a good weekend. Those may have been my last words to the branch here unless they give a minute next week on my last sunday. I was plannin on just writing next week that I would just see you all on thursday but Im sure I will have alot to say!!

Sad to say that I think its gonna have to wait till then!
Its extrememely hot right now and I gotta go so see what Lilians mom says!! Wish us luck!!

Love you all so much!!

Elder Gardner

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Long awaited week

Hey fam,

As I have been taking about the past while as the hottest and most sinful week in Honduras is here, The Holy Week (Semana Santa) where everything goes down and when supposidly it gets hotter then any other time of the year. I guess the good thing is that we wont have to be here in San Lorenzo for the majority of the beginning of the week, we have to go Tegucigalpa tomorrow and come back late wednesday night for a Zone Leader Council and verification that we have to do this week. This is my second to last full week in the mission and its gonna fly right by me. The bad thing is that our golden family wont be getting married and baptized until next week cuz after wednesday this entire country just shuts down. So turns out they will be married and baptized on the same day that i complete 2 years since I saw my family. Its gonna be a really good LAST WEEKEND to say the least. Exactly what I long awaited but yeah were gonna need your help in your prayers so that nothing bad happens.

This has been a pretty fast week and long awaited weekend. I loved General Conference except for the fact that for the preistood session when I was excited to listen and think back to my last weekend with Dad and my brothers 2 years ago... well for some reason we werent able to get the satalite signal and we didnt get to watch any of it. That was pretty disapointing, we only got to watch the last couple words of the prophet on the internet but that was it. Ill have to wait till i get home I guess to watch what was taught!
I sure did eat a whole lot more then I most likely would have at home. General Conference in the mission seems to be a whole lot more long awaited here then anywhere else. I got good notes and loved everything about it!

This could be my second to last email cuz i dont im gonna say much that last monday before I leave. Im having problems with my memory card as well and thats why I havent sent any pics lately and im not sure what happened but im gonna get it fixed.

I love you all and cant wait to see you all again.. each monday is just one more closer. Now just 2 more!

Until next weeek!

Love Elder Gardner

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One more Month!!

Hey fam,

Ugh its been a long... sick week. For the first time in over a year i believe that i got sick and im not sure what from but something got me good. Since tuesday night ive had a super bad fever and really achy body and i never ate anything just cuz i never got hungry and my stomach was just in really bad shape. Until sunday morning... after a really long nihgt... i felt better when I woke up. Ate some breakfast for the fist time in at least 36 hours and we left the house at 8 to get people for a conference that we had in the district. Luckily we had the afternoon session so we had all morning to go invite and bring prople to the church. We got our complete family to go to church as you can see in the picture and they were super excited. We knew it was gonna be vital for them to be there cuz it was a satalite broadcast and the area 70 spoke and Elder Boyd K. Packer also spoke. It was broadcasted to all of central america. Three was a bus that took us and so it was really cool to have 6 investigators that showed up and a family that as of this week has the marriage and baptismal date not for this weekend but the next. The same weekend as General Conference. They are super excited to be able to get married and baptized cuz they have wanted to but dont have the money.
Two of our baptisms that we were gonna have this weekend fell... two sisters becuase they both finally got a job and has to work on sudays so now we dont know what to do with them... they go straight from work to seminary though... not even going home before and really wanna be baptized but with work its really hard now. Their parents are members but dont go anymore for lazyness but ugh... thats just how a lot of people here are right now! Sometimes we just run out of things to do for them so that they will go to church but the truth is that they just dont want to... they dont see it they way we do... to them its just a house to meet at and sweat your butt off and listen to crying kids. Its hard!

I dont have much time right now cuz its late already cuz weve been waiting for interne to come back all day!!
I love you all and one month from today... ill see you all!!

Elder Gardner

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birthday package from home

Birthday dinner, thanks to the sister missionaries

Ugh! a flat tire

Our Chapel

Salt from the ocean, that they dry out and have crystals

Feelin' old

Hey Fam,

Well its been a really good week. Changes in the zone, a bunch of new misionaries and lots more energy in the zone. This wednesday I had to say goodbye of a lot of good good buddies in the mission as they all went home... but im next haha i just had to keep that in mind whenever i got baggy about the fact that they are goin home before me.
We had to teach a big Zone workshop on thursday as ZLs at the beginning of every month and ugh sometimes its just so good to have new missionaries after a long 6 weeks with some pains in the butt.

We spent time on divisions this week too trying to meet the families that the missionareis are teaching and wow i got the wrong end of the stick with that one as a chain of bad luck happened. I crashed the bike, took a big gash out of my leg, spent all the money to repair it, then climbed a hill that would have made lance armstrong sweat and then spent a night with out electricity... worst experience in the world when your in the south. To say the least ive had some legit journal entires lately and my 3rd journal is fillin up faster then I thought it would.

I had a really good birthday aside from the flat tire that we had to deal with and not be able to go get all of our investigators in the morning. The branch invited me over for cake though along with all the others that go to institute that were having their brithdays this month as well. Then the joy of having sister missionaires in the zone... they invited us over for dinner last night and i went home super full thats for sure. A really good 21st birthday

Im dying of heat in this internet place so im gonna get off since no one else wrote me anyways... i must be getting near the end of my mission or something haha

Until next week!!
Thanks for the brithday package!!

Love Elder Gardner

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

cooking tortillas

our little movie theater

My Companion Elder Rodriguez

Brothers baptized


Well I know its late but this was the only time that we had all day and we got too much to do tomorrow morning.
This week was a super awesome week... the two baptisms went really good and they both are just super happy to be baptized members of the only true church in the world.... haha thats how they talk about the church now.. super cool.

At the begining of the week we had to go to the capital again where it was colder then ever.... we actually saw rain there in Tegucigalpa meanwhile San Lorezo continues to burn with the heat. We had a really good council with president and I found out that 3 more people that I had been working with in my last area got baptized... including a black man that we taught that was having a hard time going to church.. but he got baptized. I always wanted to baptized a black man in my mission cuz they are rare here and he finally idd get baptized and is happier then ever. He knows english cuz he used to work on cruz ships. He wanted me to baptize him but President didnt let me travel the 3 hours to go do the baptism.

I dont know what has happened to me lately but ive been getting really emotional lately. For example on saturday we were visiting with a inactive family that havent gone to church in over 6 years and there are over 10 members there. We took out a TV that they had and put on JUST A STONE CUTTER and watched it with all of a mini movie theater (theres pics of that) and afterwards one of the moms of a 2 month year old daugter asked us for a blessing and as we gave the blessing the spirit was felt soooo incredibly stong... and i dont even know why but all the members there that bunched into the little room just started crying and as we stood up off of our knees after the blessing we just stood in silence and everyone was touched. Everyone of those 13 people that were there of the members that havent been to church in years... showed up the next day to church and the older members shedded tears with them because they were so happy that they came back.

Also last night we went to go read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with our two baptisms and i dont know why but I chose 3 Nephi 17 with them and the spirit once again just hit me with a ton of bricks as we read and explained really slowly about the coming of christ to the americas and i just cried for the first time in A LONG time. Read it if you havent or if you dont remember.

I cant believe im goin into my last change... my last 6 weeks. Ive changed a lot from what I was in my last area and i think what it has been is just the humbleness of these people. The majority of you all wouldnt beleive the poverty here in the south. It makes missionaires... 20 year old men drop to their knees pleading for these people. Im witness that the lord has performed miracles in these hands of my companion and mine like you wouldnt beleive.
We had more people in church then what we have had in over 9 months. 122 people and only 115 chairs were placed in our little rented house of a chapel. Its was a sight to see. Incredible!!

I love you all but i gotta go. Enjoy the pics and until next week!!

Love your missionary
Elder Gardner

Monday, February 27, 2012

I just love my familia

helping some ladies make corn tortillas

The 2 brothers that have fallen in love with the church

riding the dolphin

skipping rocks

February Gone!!

Hey fam,

I cant believe how fast this week flew by! I almost didnt even wanna write you guys today... and just wait till next week. This for sure has been an incredible week though, we worked out little butts off. Since we didnt have many errands to run for the zone... we took advantage and started doing divisions with the areas that had baptisms this weekend and those who didnt to see if we could get the last 4 that we needed to reach the goal for the month of february. We put the goal of 15 baptism between all the missionaries of the zone (14 of us) and had 11 at the end of last weekend. There were people that could be baptized but did not have baptismal dates for this past weekend. Long story short we got the goal right on with 15 baptisms.

Weve been working a lot with the two brothers that are gonna be baptized this weekend and they are super ready. This week they showed up to church really early and we are pushing to get them to share with other people cuz when we teach them its like they just get excited about everthing and want to learn more and more. They dont talk or ask us many questions but they understand everthing.

This week we have been finding members EVERYWHERE and in almost every house of these inactive people, theres someone else that could be baptized. We decided to just take a week and focus on just looking for people through the same inactive members and we found 5 more investigators and 3 of them have already accepted baptism... but some will have to get married as well but its a lot easier here in the south.. and cheaper. We were really happy with all the people we found though... i remember know everything that I loved about being here in the south... even the sunburnt necks too. Today I got fried playin soccer and sight seeing on a near by KINDA beach... its just a bay where the fishermen come in and drop off their catches. But its really cool and it blew me away how warm the water was... its like lake powell in late july haha

Anways... we gotta go to teguc tomorrow for a ZL Council of how we did this month so its back to the 3 hour bus ride back to the capital city. I love them though. This is my second to last one of these too. Speaking of that... we had zone conference this past week as well and since there wont be any more zone conferences in march or the first part of april they called me up to give my last testimony in front of everyone... i felt really weird though, like it was tooo premature cuz there were some who go home on the 7th of March as well but whatever... that long awaited LAST TESTIMONY is all over now. It went good though... there were lots of us. There are 17 that go home next week and 28 that come in... and i already feel like i dont know anyone in the mission anymore cuz everyone is sooo new. The mission has changed a lot though!

Thats enough for today!! I love you all so much. Send me more pics....

Love Elder Gardner

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eventful Week

Hey fam,
Well this week has flown by... ugh and just full of events. If it werent for the events of the mission all of us missionaries would just be super bored. But let me just start with the really cool stuff.
On tuesday morning we were going out of the house so start the day but this day we were dying of heat there in the house studying so we decided to just go out earlier and when we get to taking the bikes out of the house there were two guys on the other side of the street who just were kinda lookin at us and then came over and they started talking to us and said that they had seen one of the churches and wanted to know more about it when they saw us. That short little chat got to the point that they asked us what it takes to get baptized. We just looked at each other and then back at them and wow... 2 super humble brothers who both work in the salt scrapers. The older brother is 23 and the younger 19 and they both want to get baptized. Shocked and all we took their numbers and put a date to go see them that same day. Long story short we showed up to their house just 10 minutes late and they already had the chairs and everything out wating for us. We taught them the lesson of the restoration and they accepted the baptismal date for the 3rd of March on the very first day and we continued taching them about the Book of Mormon but just the older one can read but they now read it together. Sunday we went and got them and they went to church and their family is gonna go next week. We actually found out that their mom is a member... from 12 years ago but them and a little sister arent members. Just a super cool experience. I hadnt felt the spirit like I did when we were taching them... in a long time.
This week since it was valentines day... well the sister missionaries invited us over for dinner on tuesday and we made over 50 baleadas and ah it was super awesome. Thats what I love most about this zone is that its super united and we all get along really well. Almost all the missionaries are training so since they are all new everyone is just super close and actually listen to us. But what has helped the most is just not letting the missionaries look up to me as a big ZL and just as a companion of theirs and we have been doing really good together!!
Other news... you all may have seen on the news of the jail that burnt down here in Honduras and over 350 of the prisoners died... it was all over the news and because of that event... all missionaries in the mission have to be in the house at 8, and the sisters at 6 for now. Definately some scares here in honduras... oh and on saturday an entire market place went up in flames and i dont think people died but ugh this country is going through a lot of bad stuff right now!!
Also... ugh on wednesday we got more news... they took my comp aways from me. I just had 3 weeks to get to know the area and now im training a new ZL that now has 14 months and was the comp of my kid, Elder Lopez in the MTC... can you believe that. He is also from Nicaragua and is super chill. We had already known each other so we get along really well. Im sorry, but i just realized we havent taken a pic together yet but ill work on getting one for next week.
Now that i have written you all a novel.. im gonna close up. I love you all sooo much, my testimony continues growing as i get near the end trying not to get baggy!! haha
Keep the faith everyone... ill be home soon enough! haha
Love your Elder Gardner

Monday, February 13, 2012

4 baptisms!!

Hey fam,

Ah well this week was a whole lot better and even though we were super busy and hardly got to work much in our own area we got to do a lot of divisions and I got to meet almost all the areas in the zone but wow... the hardest thing about this zone is how far spead apart all the areas are. It made it nearly impossible to work in our area at all this week.
The week started off super busy with all kinds of problems that we had in the zone, service project, companionships that dont get along and emergency divisiones... I cant believe all the things that happened this week. In the end it was really good.

We ended up having 4 baptisms as you can see in the photos of these really awesome kids. 3 of them are from one family and the parents are members, married and baptized by the missionaries but have been inactive for over 5 years and we found them and they wanted us to baptize there kids. Then the littlest one is the neighbor of more inactive members and she is almost nine and has a brother on the mission but she wasnt quite 8 by the time he left and they had been inactive since he left but now they are goin really good. In fact since we started teaching all these kids... we have gotten 2 references of families that live there close. Everytime we would go over there to teach them there was always at least 15 kids there all sitting in the dirt listening to us cuz they love just staring at greengos... thats the way i see it anyways.

Elder Guillen and I are getting to know each other really well now... he is a convert.. he was the first one baptized in his family at 11 years old and now about 6 months ago his parents got married and baptized and he is super stoked to be able to get sealed with them when he gets home in the brand new El Salvador temple that they just dedicated in August... in fact the open house was a big part of the conversion of them as well as many others im sure. Hes super fun to be around and even though he likes flirting with the good lookin sister missionaries.. hes a good guy. Im really learning to love him.

I hope you all are doing great and I wish I could tell you i dont think about how much time I have left... every day.. but id be a liar. I love the mission and it still hasnt hit me mentally that my time really is winding down. I think about the changes i have made and the person I have become and as I ready my journal entires from this time last year and even from when I started here in honduras just over 20 months ago here in honduras and wow its the most entertaining book ive ever read. I translate it to my comp and we just laugh at the way we though and wrote back in the day since I only have 6 weeks more then him and we came here to the mission at the same time... its been really fun to just sit back and laugh at the good times from one year ago right now when we were in the same zone.

I gotta go but I love you all sooo much... im sorry ive been such a horrible actual letter writer but all my envelopes sealed from the humidity here but ill buy some new ones and see If they make it home before I do whahahahahhaha

Love Your missionary
Elder Gardner

PS um dont go off thinkin im baggy and all but just a cool fact... tomorrow i dont only complete 22 months here in the mission but on wednesday... the missionary that will replace me in the field goes into the MTC... 9 weeks baby!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Companion, Elder Guillen

Meet Jasmin my new little girl friend

Saying good bye

Big Changes!!

Hey Fam and Friends,

Wow well I dont even know where to start honestly... at the beginning of the week I was just saying goodye to the members and preparing another baptism that THEY had this weekend. Change night came along and normally we dont get the call until in the night like 10:30ish but when we were at the bishops house cuz all the men of the priestood invited me over to do a little "goodye part" and all the sudden we get the call and Cac had the cell phone and so he runs out of the room to write it all down and I stayed talking with everyone... soon after he comes in and says im going back to the DIRTY DIRTY SOUTH HAHAH thats just what they say about it here in the mission. I got changes still as a Zone Leader but here in a place called San Lorenzo. Its in the south but not as far into the south as what I was last time. They say its hotter though and now I can testify of that especially now that were entering the hottest time of the year... again. The good thing is that we have bikes here... its been fun. It took me a while get my butt used to a bike seat for the first time in 2 years... plus all the pot holes that are in our area. Im super excited though... there are some incredible members here though and I think im gonna like my death place. Even the people that live here in San Lorenzo say that even the Devil himself is sucking on a Popsicle... for real though... its HOTTTTT!!!!! Im gonna be finishing the mission here.

The zone here is a whole lot smaller though. We only have 12 elderes and 4 sisters... I like the zone a lot better though cuz its a whole lot more united and 6 of the 8 areas are all with new missionaries being trained so were stoked to see the animation the the new ones bring.
In our area (La Obrera) its a branch again but its a pretty strong one I guess. We have 110 of assistance and even though its just a house that we have... its a full house! Something im having to get used to and enjoying at the same time is being able to pick up and play with the kids cuz they love GREENGOS hahaha. I do miss that so much though being able to play with kids and not feeling weird about it. I even made my self a new little girlfriend here as you can see in the picture... i dont even know what I did but we were in a little activity and she ran up and wanted me to hold her and ever since then shes been my new little girlfriend. Her name is Jasmin, I already love that girl sooo much. Its in her house where were eating on the hammock too

Im really gonna like this new area even though Im gonna have deal with the hottest time of the year in the hottest place in the mission... all just a week or two before I go home... maybe ill be able to go home a little skinnier then what I was in the city haha. Its been a good experience soo far...we found a family my second night there and they seem like they want to progress... as always though they arent married but they want to be because they have never been baptized either and know that its important so we will see if we can teach them into the water!
Ive been ready for this experience to get to know my last area for a while now after being an entire School Year (9 months) in the city and now im back into the south trying to find my last baptisms. I dont like the weeks where we dont have a lot of spiritual experiences but its hard sometimes when we dont have the time to just straight up work on the area. This week we will be better though. Right now im in the city again... we have been traveling all day because tomorrow we have a Zone Leader Council and a 70 is gonna be there, Elder Fallabella... so were getting ready for a shave fest haha. Nah its gonna be a good experience tomorrow!

Anyways... I love you all very much! The work continues... just new people, new heat, and new bikes for me haha

Love your missionary
Elder Gardner

Something cool... I completed 2 years this past week from the first time that I went to the temple for the first time. I was writing and realized that it was the 26th of January that I went to the temple for the first time.

Change Week

Hey fam,

Well its been a long but very productive and succesful week. We had our baptism and everything went perfect. He was ready since the moment he went to church on the first of the year. His name is Luis Eduardo and he came here from TX and has plans to go back in the next 5 or 6 months but was born here so he came back to visit for a while. I already told you all a lot about him. He made it super easy to teach him everything cuz he just has a super open heart, and amazing support. Today we went to the temple.... again as a zone and since we are so many missionaries we ended having to rent 2 buses and so we had a little extra space so we called up and invited all the recent converts of the stake and ended up taking 2 families and our baptism from saturday and the member girlfriend. Its was an incredible experience. One the moms of the familes just broke down in tears with her little 3 year old daughter because the temple was just so beautiful. It kinda made the whole experience really spiritual. Its looking so much better now with the angel... driveway, plants and all kinds of good stuff.
Other then that great news... we not much has happened. I spent a lot of time trying to say bye to members since im pretty sure im out this change since i have nearly 6 months in my area. Plus its just two more changes that I have left. The whole mission has been really stuggling on baptisms lately since we changed the focus on just families and no more kids... at all. Its dropped our numbers but we will see how the Zone Leader council goes this next week with one of the Area 70... Elder Fallebela... is gonna come and most likely shave us but its gonna be good, and interesting to see what he has to say.
This whole week ive been getting up early to do exercized... in this case... laundry haha... since all my clothes have been sitting in my suitcase forever they smell all dusty and weird so i started little by little washing all my clothes by hand on our pila and im gonna be finishing today soo thats gonna be a relief but im gonna be going to my last area smellin super good haha
Ive grown to love washing my clothes by hand and not that i got a technique goin on and it doesnt hurt my fingers anymore... its been really nice!
Im really gonna miss my comp Elder Cac... it took us a while to get the companionship going but we get a long really well and were for sure gonna miss each other. Im just really hoping that the lord takes me out of the city to finish my mission. Thats all i want. Id even be down for going to the south again! We will see and find out tomorrow night i guess.
Anyways.... thats about all the good stuff. I sure do love you all very much though and hope everything is going well!!

Love you fam

Elder Gardner

Monday, January 16, 2012


Hey Fam,

Weeks seem to pass by rather slow when you go about worried about whats goin on at home haha but ugh it was a big relief knowing that everything is better with dad and everything.
This week was a really good week though in the end. Were gonna have a baptism this weekend of a guy that now has 3 times going to church and is still reading the book of mormon and everything. He was progressed faster than usual and is absolutely stoked to go home to texas in the next year to share the gospel with his family. We found on the church website 6 chapels within 10 minutes of his house in Texas and so he was super stoked about that. The temple is within just 20 minutes of his house as well but he had no idea that it was of our church.
On monday we did a Family Home Evening and made the last batch of Choco Chocolate Chip Cookies that you guys sent me in a package... LAST CHRISTMAS hahah yeah i had them a little hidden and then when I found them we planned it out with the bishop and his wife to make them.... they LOVED them. The ovens here once again are a little different so they got burned on the bottom again but the stake presidents daughter loved them and so did we haha
Were going into the last week of the change this week and then i start my second to last change... last 12 weeks. I had an interview with president this past friday and talked about changes and about dad and other things that have been happening and my own mission president made me baggy... haha he said wow... your getting old arent you... just 13 weeks huh?? I couldnt beleive he said that to me. Im just nervous and anxious to find out where my last area is gonna be.
Anyways... thats all ive got to say for this week. The wood carvings should be getting there this week or the first of next.... keep me updated

Love you all

Elder Gardner

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Me and Elder Cac

Wow! under 100 days

Hey Fam,
Well I might have made the mistake to read moms letter about everything that happened this weekend before writing this email cuz im a little distracted and im not sure what to think. I guess I can just trust that everything is fine and that I shouldnt worry. Ill do my best.
Um this week was somthing else... i know its been a while since ive writen you guys a spiritual experience or something cool that has happened. Im sorry about that... they just havent been coming recently but I think it was just the lord testing my patience especially. In this week he decided to send me one of his tender mercies though... maybe it was for conincidence that all these crazy things happened this weekend at the same time that we, here in honduras, were able to have something a little better to say.
Last week for the first time one of the families in the ward took a friend of thiers to church. He was born here but has been in Texas for the past 20 years. We got to meet him at church after having NO ONE to take to church and thinking that once again we werent gonna have anyone in church... well this family did thier part and took him to church with them... He loved it. He hadnt heard anything about the church as he as in there in Texas and obviously came here to learn about it. We talked a lot about the book of mormon in church and he was really interested. The family gave him a book of mormon and this whole past week he took it with him and started reading. One day he was with a friend reading the book in central park here in Tegus and they took a pic of him and the Book of Mormon had this incredible light shining from it in the picture, he showed it to us and it was pretty incredible. He took it as a sign that this book has something for him. We got to teach him just one time in this week but he went to church again... all by himself. Yesterdya after church we taught him about Joseph Smith and how the church was restored and with the video and just after he accepted a baptismal date for the 21st. We got on line as well and looked up his house in Texas just to find the closest church to his house and sure enough there are 7 churches within 10 minutes of his house and he was amazing and got really happy cuz he told us he can see and has felt the love that we have for him and thats why, he said, that he wants to be baptized and become part of the family. Really cool experience that we had!! The lord kinda just through that at us after a very trying week... it would take me hours to write all the crappy things that has happened with us, but you only wanna know the good stuff anyways!!
Me testimony was definately renewed this weekend after fighting so hard to find people and then the lord thows him at us from the no where and no if everything goes well ill have a baptism before leaving this area.
I love you guys... um ill for sure be praying a lot this week and working super hard so that everything gets better!
Tell dad how much I love him and a hug from me too.. please!!
Love your missionary
Elder Gardner

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Years

Hey fam!!

Well its been another week of just eating more then we wanted to and listening to a lot of firecrackers. We got to work a whole lot more this week though but we took a lot of time trying to help the members and other people to put goals for 2012 and meanwhile working on my own. It was weird thinkin that I needed to put goals for what I wanna do when I get home as well. Now that my FULL YEAR in the mission is now over and now im just in the last little bit. I know I have a lot more to do but as I looked at the goals that I had put last year...well I didnt do very good. Im gonna do a lot better on them this year though.
This weekend was really good though, we found quite a few new people and challenged 2 of them for baptism and despite the fact they were going out of town for new years... they accepted.. so in this week we will see how that turns out. We expected not a lot of people to show up to church on sunday since its the first day of the year... and since we had no one to go pick up we got here at 5 till 9 and there was NO ONE... just the bishop, and another really faithful couple that are ALWAYS there. That was kinda tough to see but even we were pretty tired sunday morning cuz we didnt get to bed till about 1ish cuz of all the firecracker and knowing that it wouldnt be worth it to try to go to bed early cuz of all the people in the streets. The only excited thing we could watch was the clock on our cell phone turn over haha
We dont have any baptisms coming up for a while cuz these past two weeks have been hard to get people to church...even the members are getting there late... or showing up late! Everyone wanted us to come over and eat their food but no one wanted to show some dicipline and be there early... whatever!
We were fed very well though... dont worry about us starving here!!

I dont have much time though, today for P-day we went to the waterfalls in my 2nd area and heres some pics.

I love you all!!
Thanks for the packages everyone... im working on getting you all letters so just wait for those!!

Elder Gardner