Monday, September 2, 2013


Magangang mga pamilya at kaibigan ko!!
This week was overall really good...I still miss all of you so much, but I am so happy here and loving every minute! I have just had to realize that it is okay to miss all of you and enjoy my mission at the same time! My ear is better! Sister Guanzon told me some medicine to buy and once I took it, it went away within 4 days. Lets see... so I have become the designated chef for our apartment! I love cooking! I cook breakfast, lunch or dinner whenever I can for the Sister's in our apartment or help Sister Marila. They love your recipes mom! I am going to need some more! I am also teaching myself how to play the piano. We have a piano in our apartment so after planning at night I get ready for bed really fast and then practice the piano for 15 minutes. I really bad...but at least I am learning. I feel bad for the other Sister's in the apartment that have to listen to the awful sounds coming from down stairs.
This week we had trainer and trainee workshop. I got to see my entire batch! It was so good to be all together and talk with the people from my MTC district. We were laughing about all the good times at the MTC. We seem to all be experiencing about the same things. That was good to know. One thing about the workshop that really stood out to me was about just loving your investigators. President Guanzon said that if you ever feel inadequate as a missionary, just think about what you can do to help your investigators. That has really stuck with me this week.
After the workshop we traveled to Oas for exchanges. Definitely the nicest apartment I have seen so far...they have hot water. I didn't know that existed in the Philippines. Oas is really far from everything, but so beautiful. They are just rice fields for miles with beautiful views of the Mayon. While we were working with the other Sister's, we mostly did contacting referrals because it is a new area (open area). That was fun because it really gives you a chance to talk to a lot of people. They aren't really addresses in the Philippines- so finding specific people is just basically walking around and asking if people know them and where they live. My favorite moment in Oas was the sunset! So me and Sister Dumas (my companion in Oas) were sitting outside teaching a less active member and the sun was setting over her rice field. The sky was hot pink and orange and SOOOO MAGANDA! I was freaking out...but still I only have a broken no picture. Those moments make me so thankful that I am serving my mission in the Philippines. The sunsets are worth the brown outs.
So now about some of the people we are teaching. First the Alanis family! They are so awesome! The dad is less active and the mom is an investigator. They have 2 kids- 9 and 3 years olds, both girls. They live in a home that is on stilts over the water- I get nervous every time that I am going to fall through the floor, but it is awesome! The mom is very difficult! She is very stubborn and has so many questions. She believes that our message is true, she just wants to know everything before she even considers being baptized. Then the dad has amazing desires for his family. We asked his what he wants for his family- he said he wants them to be sealed in the temple. He told us he wants to become active again and be a better example for his wife. His actions just aren't at all in line with his desires. I really hope that we can activate Tatay and the heart of Nanay will be softened. They are sooo nice and fun! The Tatay loves it when we visit them.
Then there is Josaphine and Arnel Malacad. They are another couple. They have 3 children that are 14, 16, and 18. They are soooo nice! They were a referral from our bishop. My companion and her old companion had taught them once, but hadn't gone back- so me and Sister Feinga went back yesterday. We taught them about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. They were so receptive. We invited them to be baptized if them come to know that these things are true on September 28th. The dad, mom, and youngest daughter accepted! The dad has been sick and just got out of the hospital, so he said as soon as he can he wants to come to church. They live very far, but I am so glad that we went to visit them! The spirit was so strong the entire lesson!
On Saturday we went to teach a 9 year old boy who is a recent convert, Mark Joseph. We taught him on the roof of his house! So beautiful. He lives on the top floor of this really tall house in the middle of rice fields. I died when we went on the roof. You can see all of Legazpi. It was so beautiful, again, wish I my camera worked!
This is the best thing ever...but also kind of scary. So we have 2 new investigators at the Guanzon's house! Their cook, Millet, and their guard, John. So we get our Mission President and his wife as our member's present in our lessons! So we went there for the first time on Friday. They live in this crazy nice nieghborhood while the mission home is being built. Their house is on this hill that has views of the Mayon on one side and then the beach on the other. It is unreal! So we went there thinking we were teaching the guard and got all prepared for our lesson with him and then he wasn't even we taught Millet. We taught her lesson one. I was terrified! We just sit down and Sister Guanzon is sitting with us. So scary! It actually went really well! It was far from perfect, but by far the best I have ever taught lesson one and the most Tagalog I have ever used! I guess the pressure was good for me. Millet is very shy so we couldn't get much out of her, but she came to church on Sunday with the Guanzons! We were so happy! We will go back and teach John and Millet on Tuesday. So one lesson with Sister Guanzon...and one with President. I'm already preparing! After the lesson they fed us a Merienda (snack)- so I am thinking there will be a lot of those in the next couple of weeks.
So today we had a district activity for p-day! We went to the Zoo and then to lunch and shopping. The zoo was pretty lame. The only cool thing was the Tiger and Crocidile. But the cage for the tiger was tiny and he was it just made me depressed. I'm going to think of something was more fun to do next transfer. Hopefully it will be a zone activity. Our zone lost this time for a zone activity by one point to the Tobacco zone. So you people with google...if you ever find anything fun to do in Legazpi let me know! It was nice to just go out and have fun though (and wear normal clothes). Oh and while we were grocery shopping like an hour ago, we got a new investigator. I asked one of the workers where the eggs were and he was so amazed that I knew (some) Tagalog and he started following me was weird...but I talked to him and found out that he has siblings that are members of the church. He lives in Sister Feinga and my area so we are going to go visit him and teach him next week! It pays to be an American.
So this week I started to read "The Fourth Missionary" again. It has really helped me. I am trying to work on just becoming a better missionary overall and giving all my time to this work. Some of the things in the fourth missionary that have really stood out to me are- That I have a choice with everything- how my day goes, how I feel, how successful my mission is, and who I am. If I choose to be happy now- I will be happy in the future. I doesn't do me any good to think I'll be happy next transfer, or in a certain area, or once my mission is over, or once I know the language. I can choose to be happy now and then no matter what I will be happy in the future. That can go with any quality. It there is something you want in the future- you have to work on that quality now. Dilligence, patience, etc. The next is that my heart has to be in the work for ME to benefit. Others may benefit from my message, but if my heart is not in it, I am just going through the motions and I will not be changed after the year and a half. I am really trying to make sure I am constantly thinking about my investigators and what I need to learn in order to teach them. "For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God." There is no point in being a missionary if you are not going to put your whole heart into it and do it with a smile on your face.
Let's see what are some cultural things- I will try to include some every week. I have had wayyy to much Jolley Bee for my own good. Whenever we go on transfers the Sisters want to go out for lunch and of course we got to Jolley Bee and then there is one really close to our apartment- so when we are out of food we go there. They measure kilometers by how close the next Jolley Bee is. When we are going far to exchanges the signs on the side of the road tell you how close you are to the next Jolley Bee and that is how you know there is a city coming up. Everything feels normal here already, so I can't think of anything weird. Basically everything here is bizarre and wonderful! We are eating balut as an apartment on that should be fun and nasty. Maybe I will like it this time...not very likely.
Mahal kita! Until next week!
-Sister Gardner

Pday at the Zoo.

Pday at the Zoo

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