Monday, June 27, 2016

Last Transfer

This week we had a lot of planned activities but they didn't all work out as planned. People cancelled lessons but we were very blessed that they called and let us know ahead of time so we didn't have to sit around and wait for them to show up. We went tracting a lot and got yelled at quite a bit. It was one of the times here when we got yelled at the most. It seemed like people were just snapping left and right haha! We would knock on a door and they would open it, see us, and slam it without saying a word before we could even say hello. That happened quite a few times. Or we would knock, they would open it and would start immediately yelling at us telling us that we are goats and that we need to leave or else they would beat us up hahaha these sweet old grandmothers just have the most bright, colorful, overwhelming, bipolar, crazy tempers. I use all those words to describe their tempers because I can't think of a single word to say what I want to convey. I find it a bit comical in a sense because these people have never seen us before, they don't know why we knocked on their door they just immediately go crazy:) It is quite amusing. Not that I am trying to disrespect them, we of course leave when they make us. We don't try to antagonize them and get their blood pressure higher than it already is. I just find it interesting that it happened so much this week, it’s hard not to find it funny IMHO. 

What else? We found 3 different apartments where the people invited us to come back and share our message with them. We visited 2 of the 3 yesterday and they were either too busy or not home. We will be stopping by again in the upcoming weeks. Good times!

We got haircuts this week and one of the members cut our hair. She is a wonderful lady, she didn't even make us pay.   I got sunburned a few weeks ago. It was the first time that has happened in 2 years. It was on my neck and arms after we went on a hike:p

That is about it! The best part of our week was getting to play soccer with our members. I got really lucky and scored 3 goals! Wow, haha I surprise even myself sometimes. The low of my week was probably not getting to meet with Nikolai. He had to cancel the lesson because he was helping his friend with something. That's a good reason for cancelling, I am glad he didn't say "I am just too tired to meet" That would be a less good reason to cancel our meeting.


It sounds like you are all doing well.  I also am not doing too bad right now but I feel sad when I realize that in about 30 days I won't be here anymore and it will all be a memory. Not my life anymore but a memory of what my life was for 2 years. The members here are so great I feel like I haven't done enough to help them and I really want to continue any way I can to help them when I get home. 

Don't worry, I plan to keep going strong to the end. That is one of my biggest goals, I do not want to give up early. Thank you for the support. I love you a lot!


I am staying with Elder Turner for my last transfer and Elder Nielson is leaving for Ussurisk. Now it will be Elder Turner and me along with Elder Vincent and Elder King. Good guys. 


That is very sad to hear about Uncle Kent passing away. That reminds me, though, of the talk from General Conference by Michael T. Ringwood Truly Good and Without Guile. That is the kind of person I hope to become. I am sure that Uncle Kent was one of those. 

 I completely forgot that Shark Week was a thing! Oh man, I am pretty jealous of you all. We will have to have a Sharknado marathon when I get back.

It's cool that you get to go see Kreston play ball in CA.  Give him a big Privet from me and a big FIG also :) I am sure he would be very happy. 

Anyways, I hope you have a great week this week and remember who you are and act accordingly.


Elder Gardner 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy Fathers Day

Hi there! Sorry I am emailing late, we were late today with what we’ve been doing.
I am a little upset that I missed my candy bar at church! I might just have to go buy one for myself from the store. Here in Russia we don't have father’s day, they have other holidays though celebrating their men.

It’s great to hear from you always. Thanks for being so diligent about writing me! 
I am so glad that I am here instead of there in your heat! Here we have been having rains and cool temps all week:)

That's so great that Grandma got to go out to NYC and party a little bit! She’s so cool:)
I am glad to hear that Calvin made it home safe and sound too. We will be hanging out in no time. What is his new email address? I would like to still chat with him, but I don't think he will be using his LDS email here shortly.

Our week was good. We had a lot of lessons with members and investigators and we tried hard to make all of our lessons interesting and fun. We talked about war and testimonies with a 13 year old member. We read Alma 49 and compared the wall to a testimony. We had lessons with a couple of our investigators and they are all doing so great. They are all very interested in our church and love it and want to be a part of it. They just need to make sure they can really say that they know like we do that it is true before they get baptized.
I have been thinking about how lucky I am recently. It was a quote from someone I don't recall who. "Don't judge people because you would likely act the same way if you were in their shoes". Why was I not born in Russia to parents who didn't really want me? Why wasn't I born into poverty or anything else like that? Why is my life so greatly blessed? What did I do differently to deserve it? I couldn't tell you, I have been thinking about it a lot and am not sure why I am so lucky.

The island is nice, we had some Korean food this week! We had some interesting soup at the restaurant... Man's best friend... I guess the Koreans didn't get the memo that you’re not supposed to eat your friends :p  It was odd, kinda chewy meat, the fat was very soft and sweet and is supposed to be very healthy for you. Russians use it all the time apparently! I had no idea! The smell was not the best either but Koreans love it. I also had some Bi Bam Bop! It is just fun to say haha its rice with a hardboiled egg and veggies and it was pretty good:)
Korean Stew
There is a lot of Japanese stuff here, I really like the culture.

I don't have a whole lot of time to write though! I love you a lot and Happy Fathers Day.  Thank you for who you are. I love you!
I love you all :)

 Elder Gardner

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

2 years just isn't enough time!

Your favorite son is doing well! Our week was a good week. I appreciate the music you sent.  As soon as I plugged it in I started scrolling through because I was CERTAIN that there was going to be something unusual on it. It didn't take me long to find a certain song about puppies! Hahah It was a great surprise, I think Elder Turner was a little bit weirded out when I started singing along. He had never heard that song before!   Cameron included a Dr. Demento song that she knew Ryan would like.  And about the card, (We sent an "infinity" card that plays music for hours and hours and drives you crazy) I never actually pressed it! I saw it and thought... that's a weird thing to say. That's not a normal card. Not really a catchy phrase either haha. I then read what you all wrote down and remembered something about the infinity cards hahaha. I still haven't pressed the button! Its just sitting on my desk waiting to be pressed:) Sorry for ruining it, haha, I might press it and hide it somewhere right as I am leaving Sakhalin as a surprise for the other elders haha:p 

When we  went on our hike, we tucked our pants into our socks because of ticks. They were supposed to be a big hazard but we didn't have a single one climb up on us. We tucked our pants into our socks and put lavender oil on our shoes to keep them away. It seemed to work pretty well:) 

This week we didn't have too many lessons with investigators. They were all busy and not answering their phones. We had a few though and they were very nice. We met with a member named Sister Tatiana and she is a wonderful lady. She has had some rough patches in life and has stuck strong to the gospel. She shared stories about her wayward son and how she has felt the comfort that comes from living the Gospel. There are some really great members here. I want to be more like them, like Elder Ringwood talked about those who are truly good and without guile. That was a great talk that I read this week by the way.
It is important that we remember our end goal. It isn't fame or fortune or being the best Mom in the PTA or having the nicest house or anything like that. Those are all things that we can strive toward, and some of them are very worthy things that we should work dilligently to accomplish. But they aren't the end goal. I know that for myself I sometimes get caught up in the little things that aren't as important in the grand scheme of things. Our personal conversion is very important and not so much how converted our friends think we are. I like what Elder Ringwood said "Today there are some who would have us believe our search for relevance can be satisfied only by obtaining position and power. Yet, thankfully, there are many who are uninfluenced by this perspective. They find relevance in seeking to be truly good and without guile. I have found them in all walks of life and in many faith traditions. And I find them in large numbers among the truly converted followers of Christ."

I didn't get to meet with Nikolai this week but Elder Turner did, we had a split. I was with Elder Vincent and it was great. He is a great guy:) Very focused and very hardworking.
I can't believe Calvin is already home in 2 days. He was in the MTC with me! That means I am home soon! Haha time is just flying so quickly. I wish I could slow it down and stay longer. 2 years just isn't enough time. 

Thank you for your prayers! They help a lot. I love you

Elder Gardner

Monday, June 6, 2016

Turning 20!!

Thank you for the Birthday wishes everyone! I had a great birthday this week!

I was on a split with Elder Nielson, who is from Vegas. We went to a service project early in the morning to help the Hare Krishna people make soup. We cleaned carrots and potatoes and then had to go. There were a lot of carrots and taters... They make a lot of soup and help a lot of people.  I really love the Hare Krishna people.
That is so crazy that Jared and Blake are going to the same place! My homecoming talk will be right around the time of their farewell talks, haha that's great.
You asked about rent.  Our rent in Sakhalin is much more than it should be. It is 40 k. In my previous area it was 27 k. It's a 3 room apartment which is more than enough for 2 guys and it is more than I would say is average. You could find a cheaper one easily but I am not sure why we haven't done that haha. It is such a hassle though to find an apartment though so we are staying here for now. 

I got my birthday package this week and I opened it before my birthday! Oops:) Thank you so much for all the things you got me! I really enjoyed the snacks and cake and BYU socks. They match my suit so I have been wearing them with my blue suit. I only have 1 suit, I had a black one and the brown one from Elder Kluff but I didn't have enough room in my suitcase to bring those to Sakhalin and they were falling apart anyways, so I have just one suit here. I might get another right before I come home. I will also be getting shoes in the near future. But that is just a side note:) 

I feel like I have been getting a bit weak, I need to step up my morning workouts. Today we went hiking on a mountain and it was fun! I will send pictures later if I have a moment. 

The school schedule that you sent me is a good one! I have no idea what a lot of credits look like, I just know that the things on there all look super interesting! Except for the English 101 class haha. But I will probably need it, my English isn't as good as I would like it to be. What would be a low amount of credits? What would be a completely filled to the brim schedule? How many credits? I don't know exactly how this whole thing works. Each class is on a different day, probably a few times each week for each class but I don't know much after that... Could you explain to me? It seems like that isn't too much but I don't have a reference point so I couldn't say for sure.  Thank you for all the help getting this college thing up and going. I love you.
We taught our investigator Nikolai this week and before the lesson he was talking about how he gave up drinking alcohol and how great he feels because of it and he made a comment that now he could give the money he would have spent on alcohol to the church. A few minutes later we started our lesson about tithing and he said "Hey! This is what I am talking about! This is great!" He said that he just needs to give up smoking and all will be well. He is such a great guy. He has a genuine desire to change and become a better person. He is making all the changes in his life because he understands what God wants and he is willing to do it. It is so refreshing to see that in him and I am grateful for the opportunity to be teaching him. 

Remember Isaiah 57:21. That is something that nobody can take away from you if you are striving to become more and more like your savior every day. I promise you that peace comes to the righteous and it is one of the greatest gifts that we can get from our Heavenly Father.

Elder Gardner