Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I love our members

This week we had the APs come into town - Elders Lyman and Cluff. They are great elders.  I was with Elder Lyman when we went to visit a less-active member of the church. Her name is Nadya. She is very wonderful and her two kids always come to activities even if she can't always make it. She is normally very busy with work and other things. We went over and got to spend some time getting to know her better and teaching the family a bit. Then we got a call that one of our other church members needed help getting down the stairs. Luckily this older member who needed help lives in the same apartment building so we just went up to the 9th floor of this building and helped her down the rest of the way. It was a slow process but I was glad that we got the opportunity to help her. 
On Sunday we had a slow start to our church services. At the time when we were supposed to start there were only 3 members in their seats. It’s a little bit difficult to enthusiastically say "Hello brothers and sisters, we welcome you all to our sacrament meeting"  when there are very few people staring back at you. But it’s okay :) I am just very glad that we had those 3 because they are some of the nicest ones I know. I am glad that they had the strength and faith to come to church here.  By the end of the opening hymn we had around 18 people seated and that was nice to see.  Now if only people would come on time or even early!  That would surely be a miracle. 

I got the chance to give a lesson in priesthood about faith and we did an object lesson. I put a Soviet Union coin in my big fluffy hat and asked someone to come up and tell the rest of the people what he saw in the hat. That guy was the prophet. Then we had people say whether or not they believed him.  Then I told the class that this guys is only 14 years old, he doesn't know what a soviet union coin looks like. At the end we showed that there was a coin in the hat and we talked about faith and how we choose to show our faith. We don't just expect faith to appear one day, we need to act on what we hear from the prophets and apostles and pray to know the truth. Then we read the talk from the last conference about the Openshaw family by Neil L. Andersen. I think it turned out alright :) I am grateful for all of our church members. They show so much love and faith by coming to church often. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for them, but they consistently come and I am very inspired by their example to me. 
I am grateful for your letters :) Thank you very much for you constant love and care. I know it seems like a small thing and you are probably thinking "Of course, why wouldn't I write you a letter each week?" but it is very much appreciated and I love you.

This week was a good week, we worked with one of our members to help improve his house. He lives out in the woods and is a really simple guy. He loves the trees and nature and we spent some time out at his house doing some work. I am grateful for hard physical labor. It is always nice to get outside and move some heavy logs and stuff and use your brain. There is no substitute for picking up a big heavy log and pulling it a hundred feet or so. It feels pretty manly haha. We don't often get to do that so I am grateful for that experience. We also got to meet with some of our less-active church members. Spending time with them and learning about them is truly wonderful. Each person we see on the streets has a history of their own and feelings unique to them and it’s something special when a person will open up to you and you can help them see why living the way Jesus would like us to live is a good idea. I know that not only happiness, but real joy comes from living the commandments of God and helping others to do the same.
Right now in our Branch we are also trying to put together a branch history and send it in to the Church. I am not sure if you have ever seen one done before but there are lots of little pieces and they are all very cool. Maybe you could ask the bishop about it and you I am sure he would let you see the photos and read the stories from the Lakewood ward history from years past if you asked. I never even knew about it, but I am sure there are some really great memories written in them.

I love you all and hope you have a good week this week. I wish I had more time but Elder Siebach needs to get on. Maybe I can find some time after to write more, but if not just remember that I love you and miss you a lot!

Elder Gardner

When do you go to Korea again?
I leave for Korea in about 24 hours. We fly out tomorrow around noon and I can't wait. It’s crazy that this is the second to last Visa trip. I am bummed that Elder Riggs won't be there with us! He's always been with us and I am sure we will miss him a lot.

What is your favorite part of your Korea trip?
I mean I should say the temple. And of course every time that we are able to make it there in time for a session it is the best part of the trip.   However, out of all my trips there we have only made it to a session 2 or 3 times.  Don’t tell but one of the best things about our visa trips is all the junk food we get to eat. The Burger king, the McDonalds chocolate shakes, the Jamba Juice, the Baskin Robbins ice cream, the Dunkin Doughnuts. I’m just saying that it is possible that on my last Visa trip we hit all of those…in the span of less than a day... It was the holiday season, can you blame me?   J

When we met Elder Riggs he said the weirdest part of being home is having his own cell.  What do you think?
I can't even imagine having a phone that I won't have to share with someone else, let alone an iPhone.  That would be very weird.  We share an Alcatel 205D phone. It is very basic but it works.

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