This week was a good week! I am tired. We were busy all week travelling and spending lots of time with different elders all going across the mission to their new areas. It wasn't very hard for me to say goodbye to all the people in Irkutsk because it was all so quick. I didn't really get a chance to tell everyone goodbye. That probably made it easier. I miss them though.
Artyom is a really cool city. I have been to Artyom a few times with some of the old missionaries and I like it here. It is very small, there is maybe one small mall and some stores but nothing like Irkutsk. Irkutsk was crazy. That place was always full of activity but now our p-days will be more peaceful. Maybe next week we will take a bus to Vlad because it is close enough to get there in 45 minutes on a bus. I like the weather a lot here in Artyom. It is very warm and I could probably go without a jacket if I wanted to ha ha.
|The airplane seatbelts were made in Phoenix|
Elder Siebach is a cool elder, he is really funny and always positive! He is my first counselor and Elder Anderson is the 2nd Counselor. The Andersons are a senior couple that lives in Vlad and they come to Artyom for church. They work in the office in Vlad for the rest of the week. They are really a great couple. They are so helpful I couldn't do anything without all the help I have been receiving. I am so glad. As President it is my job to make sure everything runs smoothly, I know I won't succeed if I am trying to do this all on my own.
|Ready to go to work|
My first Sunday as Branch President was good. They announced it in front of all the members and then I gave a testimony. I think this is going to be a good experience. I am really ready.The branch here is pretty great. I am excited to be spending a lot of time with them.
I am rooting for you all the way with the Firefighters. It seems like you’ve been fighting that battle for a while now, hopefully it will all come to a close soon enough. That is fun that Tina moved back in. – she is a good dog.
I love you a lot! I wish I had more to say, you have all been a big help to me so much and I am so grateful for it!
I love you and can't wait to talk to you again.
We received this letter from Sister Perkinson (the mission president’s wife):
Dear Brother and Sister Gardner,
Happy New Year! Today we met with the missionaries in Artyom Branch and felt of their goodness and their desire to serve The Lord in more ways than they initially had ever expected! Change is always a part of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and it certainly is a part of Vladivostok Missionary work too!
Thank you for your prayers and support! The greatest gift for our mission truly is doing the simple things that the gospel teaches! Support by sharing stories with Elder Gardner of your own personal life that will uplift him and strengthen him is this endeavor! He truly will need that more than any material gift sent across the Pacific Ocean! You know what I mean, tell him about what you learned at Sacrament meetings so that he can apply it to Artyom Branch! Tell him some ideas of great Family nights that he can use for the branch members! Tell him every time you go to the temple, and go often, then remind him of the covenants and blessings you felt while attending! Those gifts will make a huge difference in HIS life & will help him see the eternal truths and the eternal love you have for the work he is doing! It is hard here but HARD can be so wonderfully good because thru our life's challenges we seek for guidance and help from above! This is a mission like none other that I know and I am grateful for Elder Gardner and his desire to Serve the Lord faithfully!
Sister Verna Rae Perkinson