Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last P-Day

Last Preparation day! Wow.  That is such a weird thought.  I am so pumped to go and do things.  I wanna talk to everybody. The people that I meet will probably be the best part.  I cannot wait! 

In answer to your question, no I am not worried – I think I am ready. With the Lord's help we can do literally anything good.  Like it says in 1 Nephi 3:7  “I will go and do the things the Lord has commanded.”  He gives no commandments and requires nothing of us unless he will prepare a way for us to do that thing. Some people might be worried about going to Russia, where will I go? What will I say? How will I know what to do when I get there? But, I am not worried.  We will be helped! Like the hymn How Firm a Foundation says, “Fear not, I am with thee oh be not dismayed. For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll STRENGTHEN thee, HELP thee, and cause thee to STAND" We have nothing to fear! We are on the Lord's errand and he will be with us and help us to bring this happy message to the people who need it most. 

Sign on our wall
That missionary plaque looks great!  I am so cute – ha ha. However, I think the scriptures might be upside down... is that the tassel that hangs out the bottom of the scriptures?  Pink eye wasn’t fun but the good news is I didn't infect anybody else so I will count that as a success. 

I sang in church on Sunday and it was great! I recorded the practices but they are too big to send over e-mail. You are going to have to wait a couple years to enjoy :)   You are right that before my mission I just thought of singing in Church as a way to get me to quit being a lazy bum.  Now I see it as an opportunity to share a testimony through song. Saying your testimony once a month is great, but singing it is so much better! I feel much more confident now expressing the feelings of my heart, whereas before I was kind of stoic and didn't really get up too often. I am so thankful already for the chance to be a missionary! 

We got our travel plans on Friday.  On Monday we fly from Salt Lake to LAX and then we fly to Seoul, South Korea.  We are on the ground for a couple of hours and then we fly to Vladivostok. I believe it is about 30 hours of travel to get there.  If our math was correct, then it should be 26 hours or so in a plane. I was told 26 hours but I didn't do that math so it could be off by a little. I will attach a picture of the flight itinerary.  We fly out around 6:30 PM so I will try and call you from the airport a couple of hours before we leave.

Notice that we skip over Tuesday, Sept 30
We gave a 40 minute lesson to a Russian lady over Skype. We were teaching about faith and I got this idea about 10 minutes before our lesson to put 1 Nephi 3:7 in there. We never used that scripture before but I thought, "Hey that could be a good idea" so in it went. We are teaching this wonderful lady, and when I shared that scripture she gets a big smile on her face :) She got teary eyed and said she wanted to cry. She told us that we had just answered her question. I still do not know what her question was, but we were able to answer it. It was such a great experience. 

Elder Russel M. Ballard came and talked to us last night. He gave a great talk about setting goals, giving each day your best, and not kidding yourself at the end of the day. Each day we give all we can, get a good night’s sleep and do it again tomorrow. If we think too far into the future, it will get overwhelming. Just take it one day at a time.
This Church is true and I Love You,


Старейшина Гарднер

Elder Gardner

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ready to escape the MTC

Hey! Last week was a really boring week! Sorry for not saying much:(  I will have a ton of stuff to tell you in 2 weeks!  I had a cold for a couple days, and then I got Pink Eye!  WOOHOO!  It wasn't too fun, kinda icky. But I got to leave campus to go to the pharmacy.   I got some eye drops and all is well now.  But because of my cold, I had a bad cough and couldn't sing in church.  It is alright and I will sing this upcoming week.  I am learning here but I would learn so much more if I could just escape the MTC. 

We should get travel information this upcoming Friday!   We have 12 days till we fly out! Monday the 29th!  We are definitely counting down the days. We are missing conference by a week.  It is quite a shame.  It is rough being so close but so far and not really sure how this whole thing is gonna work! 
Steak Fries!  Double order.  :)
I don't know how effective I will be the first few months of my mission but I am sure it will all work out for the best.  I am eating as much of the MTC food as I can stand.  I wanna get a bit more fat because I probably will not want to eat much the first couple days of Russia.  That borsch looks like blood soup... gross..

On Monday we had a Skype call/lesson with a native Russian! It was an бабушка (older lady).  Her name is Elena:) She was very sweet but she talked quickly and I struggled to understand everything she said.  But, it was really cool. We are learning more and more grammar rules each day. Hopefully I can keep them all straight in my head.

We haven't gotten any rain here but I hope we can get some before we leave to the Motherland. 

Game: How full will your cup be when you flip it over.
I am glad to hear that you guys went to help the Catholic church. Oh man, you guys have a lot of rain! I am super jealous.  In all the time I went to DV I don't think they cancelled it once.   Now Cameron might get it twice! No fair.

How was riding the Ninja? Everything works fine? I wish I could go riding again.  I always hear motorcycles riding around and past the MTC. It makes me miss it.

That is so cool that Dad’s office made the switch to the cloud! How is that going? All smooth? Send my best wishes to the folks at the office haha I feel like I am almost part of the team! Hopefully one day I can be.

We had Richard G. Scott visit us last night! He spoke a lot about prayer. Way cool! But next Tuesday we are supposed to be getting a bigger guy coming to talk! Maybe Tommy M. I don't know. 

I saw Megan today in front of the Temple! I didn't know if I could hug her, so I didn't haha.

I am glad Megan sent you the video she took! I have the translation for that if you would like:)

"Hey there my family! How are you? My name is Elder Gardner and I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ. I know this Church is true. I know the temple is the most beautiful building. I love this weather, it is really good weather. I know when I pray to God, He listens to me. He knows me. He knows us all. He loves us. Like... A lot a lot. I love you all. I love you Mom and Dad and Cameron and Megan. I am a little silly but I know this church is true! I love you! Bye Bye".

I realize that my testimony jumps around quite a bit but it is alright:) I never know what to say when people say "Hey! Speak Russian at me" 
Me and my companion Elder Hansen.

I don't think I need anything before I leave for Russia. I have a bunch of food, but Ramen is always welcome:)  The only problem is I don't have a bowl or fork so that would also be required:)  Gummy bears are always wanted. There is one elder in our district who eats all my gummy bears! Not nice! But he speaks sign language so he is pretty cool:)  I can't really think of anything that I want but anything you think of is appreciated:)

The Church is true and I Love You,


Старейшина Гарднер

Elder Gardner

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another great week

We had a great week!   We should be getting our travel plans this Friday. Somebody said we would be flying to Cali, then South Korea, then Vladivostok from there. I will let you know when I get the official papers.  No news on whether or not our Visas have come in.  Should be good! I don't know what to think just yet :)

 That rainy Monday sounds so crazy! I wish I could've driven the jeep through the mud! Would've been too much fun:)!! We had a ton of rain here yesterday, too, but not enough to flood the streets!  Lots of fun! It’s a nice change of pace from the AZ heat. I saw Cameron playing in the water on the news clip they sent me! That is too funny:) That is way sad to hear about the Catholic church that got flooded! Maybe there could be a service project to go help them out!

I am sure President Rogers is gonna do great as our new Stake President! I love him, he always gives out fist bumps! Sweet!

I’m excited that Chandler is putting his mission papers in.  I can’t wait to hear where he gets called!  That is way exciting.

Thanks for the care package.  I tried to hide them.  :)
That is so cool that you got your Advanced Diver Certification! I am so jealous. How were the wetsuits? I hope to never have to wear them again.  Sounds like a great experience though! I am glad you guys got the wonderful opportunity to dive in Lake Pleasant! It was anything BUT pleasant! haha Maybe when I get back we can get Megan and me certified in Australia! I wanna go there and dive the Great Barrier Reef. 

So last Wednesday, right after I got to dinner, I saw Elder Wimmer! I was talking to some guy going to China.  Then Elder Wimmer came up and started talking to the Chinese Elder. I looked away, looked back and saw “Wimmer” on his tag! I totally interrupted their conversation, I said "Hey! Hey! Elder Wimmer! My mom knows your mom!!" I was way pumped, all excited! I finally saw the infamous Elder Wimmer! He was totally confused, kinda like he could care less... haha this was so cool to me but he didn't even care.

I also ripped my pants! haha I was hackey-sackey-ing and went up to kick it... ripped right open in the crotch. Don't worry, I sewed it back up using the sewing kit from Mission Prep Class. Thanks Worthen Family!  

Not much has happened other than that! Still studying:)  I wish I had more to say.  Can't wait to get out there! Love you all so much! This Church is true,

Старейшина Гарднер

Elder Gardner

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Halfway through the MTC!

Halfway through the MTC!  That is a weird thought.

I am now capable of saying most simple phrases necessary in here. I feel so old! The missionaries going to Italy next door to us got here 2 weeks after us and they are leaving before we do, it is interesting. 
We got the package with sparkling cider and we had a party.   Today is my roommate's birthday so we had a Вечеринка last night:)   (You say it like, Vecherinka. It means a party). He just turned 19 and he got a yoyo for his birthday. 

Party Time
The food the first couple of weeks seemed great! 3 square meals a day, as many helpings as you would like! But nowadays, I don't see it the same way. The food is definitely going downhill and I am starting to appreciate these care packages more and more! They are a life saver. I have gained like 10 pounds. But, I am up to 15 slow controlled pull-ups. Gotta keep going though. 

I love all your notes! They make my day:) Megan sent me a couple shirts, some candy and a bunch of silly notes from her friends. I can't really think of what I need right now but everything is welcome! I love you all! 

The District
I am actually enjoying the language! That might sound weird but I think it is fun:) I have had a bunch of people say to me "Elder Gardner, how do you know so much? I never see you studying!"  Now don't take that the wrong way! I do study, but I think they are just jealous because it is coming easier to me than them. I am so blessed to not struggle with it.  The language isn't all too hard. It makes a lot of sense once you get the basics down.

Russian has 6 cases. Nominative Case. Accusative Case. Genitive Case. Prepositional Case. Dative Case. Instrumental Case. Nominative is just your basic infinitive form of a verb (I.E. To run, To swim, to eat).   Accusative case is for direct objects. Genitive case is if your subject is "Of" something (Book of Mormon).  Prepositional is easy:) Dative case is you are saying something like "I like the book". In Russian you say "At me is pleasing the book".  Instrumental is if you are doing an action with something. All of it is super exciting. I hope I said all of those cases correctly! Anyways, enough of all that fun language stuff.
This week was a solid learning week! We had a great devotional last night about after converts in the church get baptized we can't let them fall away. We need to remember that there are many lost sheep - but they are not black sheep. That was pretty powerful to me.  I want to help people and bring them to remembrance of how amazing Christ is, but I am stuck here! I gotta wait another month to do that.   

Chair fighting....???
On another note, I just noticed something. I guess it hasn't really occurred to me before but I just realized that I hate it when the conductor of the sacrament hymns is off. We were singing some hymn, and I do not remember the time signature but let's say it was in 4/4. The conductor was (and I am not exaggerating this) conducting probably a 7/4. She had no clue what she was doing. Haha   I just had to close my eyes and sing because I was so frustrated trying to make sense of what she was doing! 

Do you remember that I have been asked to sing a special musical number in a few weeks? It is not this Sunday but the next Sunday. There is a sister in our district who has a Masters Degree in Piano Performance and she is helping me.  My companion is also going to sing with me! We are doing a mash-up of hymns. The first half of the song is "Behold, the Great Redeemer Die". Then we go into a bridge/piano solo/key change. Yep! That's right! Moving up 2 keys and finishing with "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and some sweet harmonies in there:)  I am way pumped to sing this.  It will be so good! I will try to record some of our practices for you. 

It is so much fun being here in the MTC! The teachers are all so inspirational and I can't wait to go out there and do some work! I love you all! I think about you all so much:) 

The Church is true and I Love You.

Старейшина Гарднер

Elder Gardner