Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week 1 at the MTC

Dear Family,

The MTC is great! I am having a blast:) My Preparation Day is on Wednesdays.  We are only allowed one hour on the computer to write e-mails.  Please send me addresses of my friends so I can write them traditional letters.  We have much more time for that. 

This is such an amazing experience, everybody loves everybody, everybody loves the gospel and there are no fights or bickering! It is WONDERFUL!!

The cliché map picture 

I am so jealous that I didn't get to see Sharknado 2 because I really wanted to see it.

Haha - those street signs were from my childish immature days! I promise I won't do that again - at least for the next two years :)  I hope Carson didn't tell too many crazy stories! I might have to fact check some of them because he likes to blow things out of proportions sometimes.

Me and my companion
I am gaining a bunch of weight, I look chubby:) The food is so good, and all the Elders are so fun! We play hard but we work hard too,

I miss you all every day but I know this is where I am supposed to be. I first got here, and I looked around and saw people. These people looked familiar. Tons of them! When I went to talk to them I found they are from Idaho, or Germany, or Utah, or Ohio! I have never seen these people before but they all look so familiar. I believe I have known them in the Premortal life. It is so nice to befriend them all and feel their love for this Gospel and for missionary work.

There are 12 people in our District, which means 12 of us in a classroom studying for 9 hours a day. We are always together and we are all learning Russian together. Some people are going to Ucateranburg (I have no clue how to spell it... but I think it is west Russia), one sister in our class is going to Vladivostok, Sister Clark, and she is 26. She already has a masters in Piano Performance and will be getting her Doctorate when she gets back. She reminds me of Megan in her mannerisms and such. It is a nice little piece of home. Her companion, Sister Russell, reminds me of Aubrey Worthen to no end! This might come off a little weird but the way she speaks, the way she looks at me and her quiet confidence makes me think of Aubrey every time I see her.   I think of Michael Hopper whenever I talk to Elder Castleton. They are identical! Anyways I am getting side tracked.

Day one in the classroom

This MTC experience is amazing. I am learning so much. I am teaching the Gospel to an (fake) investigator, Vladimir, IN RUSSIAN! We are praying every night and morning in Russian, bearing our testimonies in Russian, and singing Hymns in Russian! I didn't think I would have so much success.  We struggle to hold a conversation in Russian but sign language and drawing pictures definitely help.  But each night I pray for the gift of tongues for me and my companion and I know God hears me. He loves us all and wants us all to be happy. I am just barely starting to realize this.

I love this Church. I remember a talk Sister Hansen gave a couple months ago in Sacrament meeting. She said something that really resonated with me. It was something to the extent of "The Gospel is like a really good book - or maybe a really good movie. You go and tell your friends, "hey guys I just saw the best movie! You have got to go see it! You are gonna love it"

This church isn't about the number of baptisms we get. It isn't about converting people to some weird cult (as some of the people in high school seem to believe). It is something that makes me really happy! And I want to share it! I want all of you to be happy and I know that this is the way. I am so happy to be here and I know this is the Lord's work. It will bless your lives if you live according to the principles. It may be hard and we will slip up, but that is why repentance is so great! Repentance is a great thing, it is a happy activity. We humbly ask the lord what can I do to better serve thee? What can I do to more fully love my neighbor? I feel that love all the time here and it is so amazing I wish you could all feel it.

In our class room we made a basketball hoop out of a coat hanger and shoebox lid and some medical tape. We put it up and each day we practice our mini-hoops. Don't wanna brag but I am getting pretty good at it. We learned how to break into a dorm room using an envelope, dental floss, a coat hanger, and a vacuum. Very inventive! We only do that when someone gets locked out of their room. Haha.  I miss you all so dearly and can't wait to write you again. Give my love to everyone and I will see them soon:)

Старейшина Гарднер
Elder Gardner

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