Sunday, June 30, 2013


Kamusta po kayo pamilya at mga kaibigan ko!!!???  Pinaka Mahal po kita!!! Salamat po para sa ng Letters and Packages!
I am so happy that I get to write home today! I feel like I have sooo to much to say from the past week! It has gone by so fast I can't even beleive it, but it has been such a great week and so much has happened!!! First off, I get my flight plans of FRIDAY (Buernes)!!!!! How is that even possible? So once I get them I will let you know when I will be calling home on the 15th.  2 more weeks sa MTC?! I literally don't know where the time went. I am going to miss it here so much! Especially my district, zone and teachers, but I am beyond excited! Last night Brother Trebas showed us a ton of pictures from his mission and told us a bunch of stories.  I got so excited! There is just something about the Philippines that feels like home to me.  I felt homesick for the Philippines as I looked at the pictures.  It really does hold such a special place in my heart and I can't believe I am going back in 2 weeks.  I can't even imagine how special the Philippines is going to be to me after my mission.  I work so hard at the language each day because I want so badly to be able to communicate with the wonderful people of the Philippines.  I want to understand their problems and be able to help them by teaching them about the gospel.  WE HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH TAGALOG THIS WEEK! It is insane.  Each day we learn new vocab, conjegations (which there are like 50 and they are all crazy), and sentence structures.  It is a fun language though.  I decided it is the boss of all languages.  It sounds pretty, yet asian, yet islander, yet crazy.  All the words are sooo long and you get to change words if they don't sound right and people understand you.  You get to say 'po' all the time.  It is so fun to speak when you actaully know what you are saying.  We have fun as a district saying dumb stuff to eachother in Tagalog!
The district above us leaves on Monday.  It is going to be sooo hard to say goodbye to them.  They have become some of my very best friends and it is going to be wierd not to have them! We already planned a roadtrip around the US to visit all the sisters in our zone in 18 months.  With them leaving that means our districrt will be the oldest in our zone! We have to help all the missionaries with language questions and all the other stuff! I can't believe we are already at that point! It flies by. 
So last Sunday was the Leadership Training broadcast for the Church that we got to attend.  Hopefully some of you watched it! It was so awesome! It was such a cool experience to be in the presence of the 12 apostles.  They are such powerful people.  Just being near them increased my testimony.  I love the focus of love.  We all just need to love those around us.  That is the most important part of missionary work.  Not the language, not memorizing scriptures or giving perfect lessons, but teaching with love and showing love to everyone around you.  The morning before the broadcast we were outside our building that we have class in and we see 4 cars of the sidewalk surrounded by police.  It was the cars of Monson, Eyring, Uchtdorf, and Packer. I'll send a picture! We were all freaking out! So we went into our class and all huddled around the window.  There were 7 girls around one tiny windon trying to see the prophet.  AND WE SAW HIM! We saw Monson, Holland, Packer, and Nelson! It was better than seeing any celebrity! They were so happy and cute with eachother.  Nelson helped Monson into his car and they were chatting.  I love knowing that they are people too. Don't worry my Kasama got pics.  I'll try to send them!
I got to meet my mission president and his wife last saturday night! I already wrote home about it, but I love them so much! They are such amazing people! I know I will be well taken care of.  You wanted me to tell you their conversion story mom.  It's really long, but basically President Guanzon got a job over seas and he was scared his family was going to fall apart because of it.  He has seen this happen to many families.  So he prayed for a long time that his family would be okay and the instant he stood up from his prayer there was a knock of the door.  It was the missionaries.  They told him they should be heading home, but they felt impressed to knock on his door.  They answered many of his questions and before he left over seas his entire family was baptized.  It was the last week for one of those missionaries and to this day president Guanzon is still trying to find that missionary to tell him how much he changed his life.  They were just so awesome! And all the people in my district that are going to Legaspi are so awesome! I am so excited to serve with them in Legaspi! Me and Sister Christensen are crossing our fingers that we will be companions maybe toward the ends of our missions! We love each other and get along so well! Oh and my mission opens on MONDAY! Those of us going to Legaspi and other new missions are going to celebrate! We are so excited! Our goal for Legaspi is to make it a temple mission! We want enough members and enough members with a desire to attend the temple to be able to have one built there in the future! And then we all want to get married there haha.
This week on Tuesday we had an AWESOME devotional.  Sister Perry spoke.  She wrote "As Sister's in Zion" and many of the childrens songbook songs.  She is such an amazing lady.  At the end of her speaking all the missionaries at the MTC sang "As sister's in zion/ armies of Helaman" The girls sang the missionary version of "as sister's in zion" while the boys sang "Armies of Helaman." Some parts came together and it was the most powerful thing I have ever been apart of.  Everyone was crying.  Even me.  It was so amazing to look around and think that everyone there are one in purpose and they were all missionaires. It is my new favorite song.  Along with "I'll go where you want me to go." I love being a missionary!!!!
Last night was a little rough.  So me and sister Christensen have a really hard investigator named Jay. We found out earlier this week that two of his children died and so he thought they went to hell and he won't pray and his wife hates mormons and the list goes on and on.  We thought we had the perfect lesson for him- Moroni chapter 8 about children and baptism and the age of accountability, and then the plan of salvation and how he HAD to pray to know if these things were true.  They whole time he looked uninterested and he kept asking us questions that had nothing to do with anything.  It was SO HARD.  I wanted to cry.  I want to help him so bad, but when he asks these questions I am not prepared for I can barely understand him and I don't know how to answer in Tagalog.  It is frustrating.  He did tell us that he wanted to know truth though and I think he will pray before our next lesson.  I SURE HOPE SO! It is a humbling experience.  It makes me work harder on my Tagalog and knowledge of the Gospel. 
I have many funny stories from this week. I don't know if this is funny, but it's fun.  So we have been playing four square all week and it gets so heated! It is my new favorite thing.  I want to start a four square league when I get if anyone is interested start practicing.  Funny line- Brother Trebas was explaining the difference between specific and non specific uses on ng and ang and so he used saying "A Gift of tongues" is different than saying "The gift of tongues" and Elder Wilcox said "I would take either at this point." Maybe you had to be there, but we all died laughing.  (Oh by the way what wife if our family off of from Archibald? Elder Wilcox is off of Anne).  Okay this is a good one.  So Sister Howard is the wife of one of the Counselors in our Branch Presidency and after meeting and stuff the sisters in our district walk her to her car because President Howard stays later. She has this fake cat that she likes to keep in her windshield hahahahahahah HANNAH YOUNG.  But she puts it away each time she gets out of her car because she doesn't want people to think it is dying in the hot car. She just likes to be able to see it when she drives.  We were laughing so hard.  She is the greatest lady ever.  She is soooo sassy.  She has been through a lot, but also had a wonderful life.  Her and brother Howard just tell us stories all the time and it is great!
Dad! I can't believe you might get to go to the Philippines! That would be awesome! You would love it and I would love for you to know more about where I will be! I am jealous of the family trip to Maine! We will have to go again to the same place.  It sounds absolutely perfect! I will need LOTS of pictures! I'm trying not too think too hard about a family trip without makes me too sad, but then again I get to go to the Philippines! Thanks for all the letters and packages! I love them more than you know! Seriously reading a letter from home makes my day 100x better.  It makes me happy to know you haven't forgotten about me because you really do start to feel like you are in a bubble at the MTC. 
I really need Zoe's address! Please send it to me in a Dear Elder ASAP!
James leaves on Monday! I will miss seeing him around! I usually see him at least twice a day.  It is nice to talk to him and see a face from the past.  I never see anyone else anymore which is a bummer, but I love seeing the people in my zone so it's all good!
Well I'm totally out of time! I'll try sending pictures! MAHAL KITA!!!!! KITAKITS!!!
-Sister Gardner


Pamilya at kaibegan ako!!!
Kamusta po kayo? Mas Mabuti ako! Masaya ako sa MTC!
So this week literally flew by! I feel like I had a p-day two days ago! We have been learning the language like nobodys business.  I finally can form my own thoughts and sentences and conjegate! It is so fun to talk in Tagalog! I love the language! I still get frustrated when I am in a lesson and can understand the investigator, but I have no clue how to respond because I don't have all my verbs memorized.  It will come though! I just have to remind myself that I have only been speaking this language for 2.5 weeks.  I know it will come.  I know the Lord will help me, he already has.  I am getting so excited for the Philippines!!! Our teacher brother Trebas showed us some pictures from his mission the other day and I almost started crying because I was so excited.  Except for the picture of the spider on his bed that was bigger than my hand...Our Branch President read us a letter from a Sister that left for the Philippines 3 months ago.  She said that she was already in love with the people and the country and she never wanted to leave.  I thought about how much I fell in love with the Philippines in just 2 weeks.  I can't believe I get to go back and I am so excited! I can't wait to be able to talk to the wonderful people of the Philippines and share the gospel with them!!!!! I just know I am going there for a reason.  Brother Gay of the 70 spoke to us on Sunday and he said that it is no accident that we are going where we are going.  We have been called of God and he has people in the Philippines that need US. That is so powerful to me and I can't wait! GUESS WHAT!? The entire 12 is at the MTC RIGHT NOW! All these areas are blocked off because they are teaching seminars for the new mission presidents.  AKA my mission president is here too! President Gwanzon and his wife! We get to meet them tonight!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED!!! The 12 will be at our devotional on sunday which will be broadcasted, so you should all watch it!
I read this talk called The Fourth Missionary.  It seriously changes my life.  Anyone leaving on a mission should read it. It changed the way I think about missionary work.  Ever since I read it I have been so much more focussed on my purpose. It made me want to serve in my heart also.  To be a good missionary you have to be in it with all your heart and mind or it is not enough.  You are only wasting the Lord's time.  I have also learned a lot about the Holy Ghost while I have been here.  I can always tell when the spirit is present and when it is not.  The Holy Ghost is something I will NEVER deny.  I can't because I have felt it and there is no feeling like it.  When the spirit is present during our lessons the investigator never cares what we are saying...they always just ask us what the feeling they are feeling is.  It is the Holy Ghost.  I am so thankful for the Holy Ghost.  It is the only reason that I know truth.  The reason I am here.  I would not be here if I didn't know what I was doing was true and important.  I would not waste this time doing something I wasn't commited to with all my heart.  I just wouldn't. 
We now have 3 investigators.  Jay, Rombi and Rombi's neighbor...we forgot his name so that will be awkward when we go see him on Monday.  But they are all really tough! Jay is angry with God because he doesn't think God cares about his family.  Our goal is to make him smile tonight! Rombi is very sad and lonely.  He has no family in America and doesn't think God cares either.  We are going to try and get both of them to think about the blessings they do have.  We commited both of them to prayer on our last visits and so we will see how that goes for both of them.  Rombi's neighbor wants to be happy like us, but he won't put away his phone when we come so it is tough to get through.  We have some awesome lessons planned to hopefully it will go well.  D&C 121:7-9 is going to be the key to helping them. 
I love my district more and more and more each day! We seriously have SO much fun! I am already dreading the day when I won't get to spend every second with them.  Some funny stories: On Monday Elder Joseph showed us how he was going to propose to his wife.  He acted it out to Elder Manning.  NEVER have I laughed so hard.  Elder Joseph was dead serious and Elder Manning was dying.  He sang and all this other stuff.  We were all on the ground.  I videod it, but unfortunately the file is too big to send.  Something to look forward to in a year and a half.  Another funny story- Brother Trebas was showing us how to begin teaching and Elder Packard was being the investigator.  I wish you knew Elder Packard because then you would understand...but he kept saying such awkward and strange stuff that didn't make sense when brother Trebas would ask him questions. At one point he said "I've given my life to celibacy." Our whole class died including our teacher.  We had to stop class for a good 15 minutes and just laugh. The rest of class was just not the same. Those are just a few stories.  Oh also me and my Kasama make up songs in Tagalog all day long to memorize words and phrases and pretty soon the entire zone has these dumb songs that don't make sense stuck in their head. "Ako rin, tungkol sa, handa awit, mahal kita." That one is super catchy.  Everyday during gym time our whole zone plays kickball, four square or volleyball.  It's so fun! We just got 2 new districts in our zone and they aren't as fun haha. We just aren't as close with them as the two districts ahead of us or the one that just left, but hopefully they will come out of their shells and have fun with us! Philippines Tagalog zone is the best!
I finally got to see Zach! I was walking to the field for gym and ran into him! It was so good to see a familiar face! A girl in my zone also knows him and was happy to see him! Thanks for sending letters to my district! They love it so much! Elder Joseph started to cry when he read his.  He wrote a note back that I sent, but wouldn't let me read it. Let me know what it said haha.  You should also send them to the girls so they aren't left out.  Sister Christensen, Ianezi,  and Carr.  Thanks for the treats mom! My district loved the lemon bars and carmelitas! I just eat treats all day instead of nasty cafeteria food.  Thanks for all the letters from everyone! I LOVE to know what is going on at home! That way I don't have to be caught up on a year and a half of events when I get home! Your words are all so comforting and make me smile on hard days.  I really do miss all of you so much, but this is where I want and need to be! I have become so close to the girls in my zone that it feels like home.  Night time is the best when we all gather in one room and talk and some girls cry and we laugh and eat all the treats you guys send. So thanks for the treats! They all say thanks!  Alam ko po na totoo po ang ebanghelyo. Mahal po ako ninyo!  
-Sister Gardner

Monday, June 17, 2013

6/17/13-Pamilya at kahibeigan ako!!!!

Pamilya at kahibeigan ako!!!!
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT IS MY SECOND WEEK AT THE MTC!!! Days are weeks here and weeks are days!!! I love it more and more every day though.  I have grown so close to my district.  We are all best friends.  We have so much fun together and laugh and cry and laugh more and cry more.  We all love eachother so much! My zone is also amazing.  Our Tagalog zone is known as the fun, loud zone.  We are constantly being told to be quiet, but who cares.  We have fun, but we also do work.  Everyone says we are learning the language so fast because we talk so much.  I LOVE OUR ZONE! Our teachers are also amazing.  I know I will cry my eyes out when I have to leave the MTC.  I would love to serve here when I am done with my mission.  We have gym time each day and our whole zone plays volley-ball every day.  It is such a good time! I suck, but we have a lot of fun! To answer your question mom, no our investigators at the MTC aren't actual investigators.  They are teachers that our acting, but they take on the role of actual people they knew in the Philippines.  It really is a real experience.  Julio, my first investigator became our teacher this week.  His name is Brother Covach, but I call him Julio.  He served in Manila and knows Dewey Graham.  One of my other teachers also knows Dewey Graham, Brother Kaka.  I love making all the connections from just going to the Philippines for 2 weeks.  Ah I can't wait to get there! And pretty much my whole district is going to Legaspi, which is a HUGE comfort! Me and my Kasama, Sister Christensen taught Julio 5 times.  I am surpised at how well most of the lessons went considering our limited Tagalog and lack of notes.  One lesson in particular stands out in my mind.  It was our fourth lesson, so we could speak enough Tagalog to say what we wanted to say.   Instead of spitting memorized phrases at Julio, everything we said came from the heart.  We listened to the spirit and the feeling was amazing.  We learned that silence is okay.  We read a scripture with Julio and after he sat and stared at the page for a minute strait.  I have never felt the spirit so strong.  Later when he became our teacher he talked about the power of that moment.  During that lesson we had not planned on teaching him to pray, but we ended up doing so.  His prayer was so sweet! After we left the room me and Sister Christensen were on top of the world! We skipped and were all smiles! We told our district about our experience and it helped them push Julio in thier lessons with him.  Teaching is so hard, but I am learning to love it! I really am starting to lose myself as I think of the needs of investigators and the missionaries around me.  Last night we worked on teaching the Restoration.  In English thank goodness, just to see what it is like.  We watched videos about peoples life stories in New York (Made me miss it).  We then had to pretend we were missionaries and a person on the street had just told us all those things about them.  We had to find a way to teach them about the ENTIRE restoration in 5 minutes in a way that would relate to them.  It was SO HARD! I got a little discouraged after about whether I could do this, but I know I can.  "Those whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies."  It wasn't too bad to find a way to relate the gospel to their life because I think the gospel relates to EVERYONES lifes.  No matter what.  But it was hard to teach all this information in a way that would make sense to someone who knows nothing about our church.  The MTC definitely pushes me.  I grow everyday and everyday I realize how much the Lord loves me and has blessed me.  I COULD NOT do this without the Lord on my side. 
I still haven't seen Zach.  I look for him all the time! I'm sure I will see him soon!
We have had some pretty funny things happen here within our district and zone.  1. Sister Morris (She is in my room and zone) has been having to go to physical therapy because she pulled ligaments in her neck and can't move it. Because....she SNEEZED!!! hahahahahahahahahaha.  And the best part is her sneezes are the most baby sneezed you have every heard.  2. In class Brother Trebas asked Elder Packard, May po ba kayong asawa? (Do you have a spouse?) and he answered, Walo po, Walong asawa ako.  That means 8, I have 8 wives.  Walo is 8.  He meant to say Wala, which means none.  We all died.  3.  We learned the longest word in Tagalog...lets see if I can remember how to spell it.  Nagsisipagsisnungaliningatong.  It means to try to tell fake lies with one another.  ANO? I don't even know what that means....4. Sister Krix aka the funniest person I have ever met.  She is in my zone.  She is from Australia.  She literally tells the funniest stories I have ever heard.  Today she felt gross and it is our p-day so she walked around with a blanket over her head all day.  You would have to meet her.  She comes into our room each night and gives us hugs and then tells us her best story of the day.  In her accent.  It's the best.  She leaves for the Philippines on monday and I am going to be so sad.  There is also sister Cutia.  She is my Filipino twin as we say.  We are always goofing off together.  I wish you could meet these people.  I LOVE THEM!
To answer some of your questions- YES MOM! there are definitely people in my district that could use letters.  None of the boys get them! The girls all do.  Their names are Elder Packard, Finneman, Manning, Wilcox, Benson, and Joseph.  With the same address as me below the name! Oh I forgot to tell you! Me and Elder Wilcox are related.  Archibald Gardner is also his great, great grandpa? Is that the right number of greats? But our charts don't go back that far so we can't figure it out! There are 5 people in our room. Me and my Kasama and then 3 other girls that are a trio from our zone.  They are awesome!  It's easy to sleep. I'm so tired that I can fall asleep fast and if I wear earplugs I don't wake up until my alarm goes off.  We go to the temple every saturday on our P-day and then we do the temple walk.  Those are both awesome times.  I see friends all the time! It's so fun! I have seen everyone that I know here and then I see people I had no idea were here! I see James and Christian the most, which is a huge comfort! It is so hard not to give them both a big hug! They are doing awesome and are so nice to me! I had no idea President Monson was speaking dad? There is a big conference next week for missionaries and they won't tell us who is speaking, but keep saying it's a big deal.  I wonder if it is him???!!! They also said there is a big missionary announcement being made! I wonder what is it?
Thanks for all the updates dad! I look forward to reading your letters every day.  Thanks for all the packages and sweet notes mom! Everyone here loves your treats.  They are a good break from the NASTY MTC food.  I am already so sick of it! Hannah thanks for the package! I wrote you a note about it, but seriously it made my day! Sarah the cookies were a hit! Sooooo good! Thanks! Livs thanks for the package also! You and Missy are the sweetest! Also expect a letter! I have so many yummy treats to eat! All the support means the world to me! It gets me through happily each day! I pray for every one of my friends and family every morning and night!
Oh and I am so happy that I am owning on my Bachelorette Bracket!! Chris for the win!!!!!
Mahal Kita! Kitakits!
-Sister Gardner
P.S. I hope that my pictures work! I can only send a few at a time so look for a bunch of emails with pictures

Sunday, June 9, 2013


June 8, 2013 - Pamilya po ako!!!!  Magandang Hapon!  Kamusta po kayo?  First off... I leave July 15th now.  YAYAYAYA.  They changed it for our district.  Thank goodness.  More time to learn the language and more time here!!  I can't believe that it is already Saturday (my P-day) and I am writing you!  I absolutely love it!  The MTC is wonderful.  I haven't been homesick yet and I am having a blast!  I love home, but right now I am completely happy to be at the MTC.  Where to even begin?  Okay, so my Kasama's (companion's) name is Sister Christensen.  She honestly is so great!  We have different strengths and weaknesses and so we make a really strong companionship.  She is from Oklahoma.  She lives on a farm, has a huge family, and graduated with like 13 people?  So we come from very different backgrounds but we love eachother and lift eachother up!  I cannot speak highly enough of my district!  I love every single person that is in it.  We have such a range of people.  Everyone is so unique and I love all of them.  We help eachother through the hard times and with the language and we laugh and laugh...and laugh.  We are a really strong district.  We love being together.  We always sit together at dinner and study together.  Our district leader is Elder Finneman.  He is part Filipino and has been to the Philippines several times.  He can understand the language so he has quite the advantage.  He doesn't speak it but it is a lot easier for him to learn.  He spends most of his time helping us with learning and pronounciation.  I love him dearly!  He is the most selfless person I have ever met.  He is such a natural leader.  Then there is Sister Carr.  I love her!  We have so much in common.  We love folk music, are studying Interior Design, and thought we would go to France on our missions.  She is so easy to talk to.  She is an older sister and really helps us younger sisters out.  Elder Wilcox is the funniest person ever for personality.  He makes jokes all day long and I DIE!!  Then there is Elder Manning who likes to convince people he is Petyon Manning's nephew (he's not).  He has such a strong testimony of the BOM and I really admire him for that.  I love Elder Packard's enthusiasm about EVERYTHING. It is getting him far and he is doing awesome with the language.  Elder Benson is also pretty funny.  What I admire most about him is his kindness.  He helps everyone in such a sincere way.  He bore his testimony to us and told us that his older brother died without serving a mission and so he is here for him.  He is just the sweetest.  Okay now for my favorite.  ELDER JOSEPH! He is from MicroAsia.  A small island in the middle of the Pacific that isn't on the map.  He speaks 6 languages because they are always being governed by new people and have to learn the language!!  But he does not know Tagalog yet.  He was baptized a year ago today and so he gets to go through the temple for the first time today!  I am so excited for him!  He is very nervous.  He misses his island and his parents, but loves it here.  He loves us and said we are his family.  We love him!  He is the only member in his family but he has already baptized 20 people back in Microasia!I love my district.  I already know I will miss them!  Luckily most of them are going to Legaspi.   I have learned so much from them.

So, the MTC is hard.  They throw so much information at you each day.  It is so overwhelming, but it is amazing how much you retain with the help of the Lord.  We were taught to learn the language as if it were a spiritual gift.  That has really helped me.  My teacher doesn't EVER speak English.  Every lesson is completely in Tagalog.  I am so amazed at how much I have learned so far.  I have a long way to go, but it is only my fourth day and I can pray, bear my testimony and basic greetings and questions.  Tagalog is the hardest and strangest language ever but so fun. Everyone not speaking Tagalog thinks we are insane.  We try to SYL (speak your language) as much as possible.  So me and Sister Christensen speak Taglish.

I already love my mission!  I have seen a lot of people here at the MTC! I see James, Christian and Rachel a lot.  They all seem happy! My Kasama says I know everyone here!  I love all of the love and support from home! I have received so many letters and I love to read them! Keep sending them!

Mahal po ako!
Sister Gardner


Goodbye at the MTC June 5, 2103.  See you in 18 months.

Sister Gonzales who welcomed me to the MTC.