Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Mga Pamilya at mga Kaibigan ko-
Grabe! I can't believe that this is the last email I will be sending from the United States for 17 months! I can't describe how I am feeling right now! So excited to go, scared out of my mind to teach in Tagalog, sad to leave my district, so excited to see the beautiful Philippines again, the list goes on and on.  Stoked for the food! Can't wait to see the kids! Meet my Kasama! See where I will be living! Ahhh this feels so unreal! This week has been such an amazing last week! I have loved and enjoyed every moments..except for the night I got a migraine. Other than that I have grown so much this week and grown in love for the people here and at home.  There has been a theme this week of being a bold missionary.  Teachers have told stories and we have had many devotionals about being bold in missionary work.  I want to share the gospel in some way with EVERY single person I  come in contact with on my mission.  That is my job for 18 months and I will not waste the Lord's time.  If I fail to open my mouth the eternal salvation of someone could be on the line.  I don't want to take the risk.  I want to be obedient and do what the Lord needs me to be doing so that I can help as many people as possible.  I can't be selfish and say "I'm too tired" or "That person is too busy." Missionary work is about losing yourself in the work.  My goal is to not be selfish and to work my very hardest.  We have talked a lot as a district about how we want to feel at the end of our missions.  This idea has motivated all of us to try harder and push more to learn the language.  I want to feel like I held nothing back and that I accomplished my purpose.  I want the Lord to be well pleased with me.  I want to love the Philippines so much and love the people so much that it is the hardest thing that I ever do to leave that country.  Thinking about how I want to feel at the end of my mission has motivated me to work so much harder already and has helped me look forward to trying my very best in the Philippines.  I know with the Lord on my side I WILL bring miracles to the lives of people in the Philippines. 
We had to say goodbye to all of our teachers this week and it was really hard.  I have learned so much from all of them and I will really miss them.  Brother Trebas said goodbye in the best way.  He told us some amazing stories about his mission that got us really excited.  He then told us about the investigators that he played as we taught him.  The one me and my Kasama taught- Jay- had committed to a baptismal date, as he has with us and he knew it was true.  Then his wife said she would leave him if he was baptized.  It broke his heart as it did mine.  Then- well a little background- Brother Trebas collects ties and our class is always complementing him on them.  So he said he has a present for our class.  He pulls out ties for each of us!!! I almost started to cry.  They were all ties he wore and they looked like each of us.  He signed the back. (You will see them in my pictures). We had a really special bond with Brother Trebas.  He gave up 10 of his ties for us! The last thing he did was read two entries from his journal.  One was from the beginning of his mission.  He talked about how much he was struggling with the language and how hard it was.  He didn't know how he would make it through.  I was so surprised by this because he is fluent now and only talks about the positives of his mission.  He then read one of his last journal entries.  He couldn't come to terms that he was leaving.  He didn't know how he would ever leave and he couldn't believe how much he loved the people.  He felt he has given his best.  I want to feel like that.  Our other main teacher- Brother Kovach- was also really hard to say goodbye to.  He was such an amazing teacher.  He also shared the stories of our investigators.  He said Rombi- the investigator me and my Kasama taught- was baptized and became such a strong member! That made me so happy! He is coming to the MTC in a month to serve in the boise Idaho mission! I can't wait for those stories to be real! He showed us pictures and shared stories.  He showed us a spider that they found outside their apartment that was 2 FEET long!!! It was the nastiest thing i have EVER seen.  Let's hope I never see one of those! To say thanks to them we got ties out of the free tie box and all signed the back of them and left them in the class for them to get on Monday.  Oh I almost forgot.  Dewey Graham and Rhen Potato were in SO MANY of Brother Kovach pictures! It was fun to have that connection. 
Yesterday we got to walk around campus and bear our testimonies to other missionaries in Tagalog.  It was so fun! I can finally bear my testimony and say the things that I want to say and not just rehearsed lines.  The language really is coming.  I know I won't feel like that in 2 days when I get to the Philippines...but that's okay.  One day I will be fluent.  I can't wait for that day.  It will take hard work, but one day I will be able to say exactly what I want and need to the Filipinos.  I just want all of you to know how much I love you! I feel your support each week.  I feel your prayers and I love getting your packages and letters.  I couldn't do this without all of you! I don't have much more time to write...so just a few more things.  BE READY FOR CALLS ON MONDAY! AND TUESDAY! It wastes the card if you don't answer! So please answer! I'll send a box home monday morning with a bunch of stuff so look for that!
Okay 2 funny things...so we are all freaking out about the spiders and Elder Packard goes..."On the bright side the Church is true." So Elder Packard....Then the other day during personal gym time me and the sisters in my district had the most epic water fight with the water guns.  It looked like I got in the shower. I was drenched! We ran around the whole campus spraying eachother.  Who knows how we didn't get in trouble. 
Can't wait to hear your voices and speak Tagalog to you! I love you so so so so much!!!!

-Sister Gardner

With my Kasama Sister Christensen

My District

With Elder Earl

Ties from Brother Trebas

My tie from Brother Trebas

Ties from Brother Trebas

Our district with our teachers.

Our Teacher Brother Trebas

Our trainer Brother Mansfield

Brother Trebas, Brother Mansfield, Brother Kovach

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