Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hawaiian Luau

Hello! How are you? I am glad to hear from you! I love you mom.

I love those pictures you sent me! If only I would have known the whole smiling thing, I might have been able to avoid the rabies shots. I agree only slightly with the Russian comment. The older generation is definitely softer in my opinion. I smile at them all the time. They normally receive it well. I think it might be because I am young and they expect the youngsters to be the rebellious teenagers, which most teenagers here are. When they see a nice young man they are taken aback and probably just smile out of confusion J

I had no idea that this Friday was Earth Day! I don't think Russia celebrates that holiday.  I haven't heard anything about it. They have lots of war holidays and commemorations of days of victory and things of that nature.  But, they seem to have less "silly" holidays (I use the term silly loosely but I hope it makes sense. In the US we have national pancake day and siblings day and all those things, whereas Russia celebrates more of their actual victories and historical feats).
I did get those photos! Thank you so much for sending them! They are great. Some people seemed super shocked to find out that I was in choir and had a solo! Some even questioned if they were real and asked "You’re kidding, you were in choir. Are you serious?" I mean... there are a lot of things that someone could lie about in life. You could lie about your grades or what kind of car you drove back in the day. We all know people that lie to impress others. But, I don't think lying about being in choir or being in a musical would dazzle that many people. That's just not something you lie about!

We have been having rain for the past 3 days and its wearing on me haha. I miss the sun! The work is alright but really slow. We had 3 adult members show up for church. One lady brought her daughter but the daughter just ran around the halls the entire time. After the sacrament the only male who came left. So we had 2 people stick around till the end of church. I feel so bad for them, they are really out here on their own. I wish there was something more that we could do to get more people coming. The missionaries come and go and the strong members just get worn out because there is no support here.  For church we watched the rest of General Conference, the Priesthood and Women’s sessions.
We had two men this week let us in to their homes. One was an ex-convict who was really drunk.  He was just recently let out of prison. He served 5 years for stabbing a guy. He was really friendly to us though and really drunk. He liked us because we were American and gave us a big hug when we left. He didn't really want to know about the gospel because he said he had enough religion in his life. He has a giant icon up in his apartment of Mary holding baby Jesus and he prayed in front of it each day. Nice guy, though.  The other guy we met was a retired guy, he liked English but didn't want to know about the Gospel. That is one of the hardest parts of the work. This message is so great and I have that desire to share it but we can't force people to open their doors and their ears and eventually their hearts. Normally they don't open up the first one (the doors) so we can't work on the other 2 (ears and hearts).

Our Luau was really great, hopefully someone puts up on Facebook a video of us singing our song "How can I be?" I think it turned out really well. We made smoothies and pineapple upside-down cakes and Hawaiian hay-stacks and had lots of decorations and I was really pleased with them way it turned out. Artyom was in charge of the decorations and dessert so we made smoothies and some tiki-heads out of soap as part of the decorations. We carved a turtle and dolphin as well and put them out on the tables as centerpieces. I will attach a picture.

I love you all! I hope you have a great week and I hope you re-read one of the conference talks that were given this last Conference. I love Conference and hope we don't forget what we heard and felt :)

Elder Gardner


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