Monday, September 2, 2013


Grabe! Mabalis ang oras! Marami na ng yari sa linggo ito!
I finally got a camera! So I have pictures! Where to even start? So I have been reading a lot of different books that we have lying around the apartment whenever I have time. I just keep getting insight after insight and it is really helping me with so many aspects of the mission! One thing I have read about is that missionaries don't abandon their dreams, but rather put them on a shelf so that they can put all of their focus on serving to the best of their ability. Then when they have served an honorable mission they can come back to those dreams and see which ones are still important and which ones don't matter any more. I have been trying to not worry about the future too much, but rather focus on letting myself grow now so that I can have a better future. The second thing that has really stood out to me is that a good missionary doesn't necessarily feel like going out each day and working their hardest, but they do it anyway because they know it is what the Lord needs them to do. I had been feeling bad because some days I wake up and am so tired and the last thing I want to do is pour freezing water over my head and go walk for miles and teach tons of lessons, but I do it anyway because I know it is important. I have realized that that doesn't make me a bad missionary just because each day I don't feel perfect. Even Christ himself ask Heavenly Father to relieve his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, but he did it anyway because he knew it was Heavenly Father's will and he knew it was important. A lot of what I have been reading is about Joseph Smith. Each time I read about him and read his story I am so amazed by him! I have such a strong testimony of Joseph Smith! I always ask my companion if I can talk about him when we teach the Restoration. I love bearing testimony of him and telling others about the marvelous work he performed on the earth. It is because of him that I have the gospel in my life and am so happy!
So this week we traveled to Tobacco for most of the week. We had 3 companionships to exchange with and I was exhausted by the time we were done! All of their areas are really far and therefore a lot of walking, but it was okay because the views of the Mayon were amazing! Tobacco was okay, it is pretty but overall a really hard area. The members aren't really willing to help and the branch isn't very strong. There are a lot of less actives because when people are baptized the ward doesn't do a good job of taking them in because it is so weak. The people there just weren't as friendly with the missionaries.  I feel bad for the Sisters there. They are doing a good job though and they all said there has been a lot of progress lately with the arrival of more missionaries! The best thing about Tobacco was in one neighborhood we had 10 kids follow us everywhere we went. We ended up asking them to introduce us to their families and now one of the companionships has a few new families to teach!
It was one of the Elders in my Districts birthday this week and so we had a surprise lunch for him at the chapel. The Sisters in our apartment made food and we got decorations and cake and then set it up at the chapel. His companion told him they had a meeting and took him to the chapel and we all surprised him! He was so surprised and said it was the best birthday he has ever had because his family doesn't really celebrate birthdays at home. This week it is our district leaders we have to somehow surprise him and think of something different to do.
The real joy from this week came from the lessons we were able to teach in Legazpi! It was only Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday...but we worked hard! So we were able to teach John, the Guanzon's security guard, twice this week. One time we got merienda and the other we got to sit down and eat dinner with President and Sister Guanzon. They are sooo nice! I am glad I am in their ward and go to their house so often so I can really get to know them! But anyway John in so awesome! He is such a happy person and always reads what we give him. He is so involved in our lessons and is just excited to learn about the gospel. He really wants to come to church, but has to work for the Guanzons while they are at church because their other guard is a member so he comes to church. We are going to try and talk to the Guanzons and see if they can figure something out because...HE ACCEPTED to be baptized in October! So he really needs to come to church!
Our next golden investigator is Manny! He was an OYM from 2 weeks ago- I might have already mentioned him, but anyway we FINALLY found time to go and visit him! I'm telling you this guy is just so dang happy and kind it is unreal! He said he has been waiting for us to come and visit. We felt so bad, but he was just happy that we were there! He was SO interested. We only got half way through our lesson because he had so many questions and just wanted to know so much!  Half way through the lesson he asked us if there is a Baptism to be a member of our church. We were like ummm..YES! Then he asked where our church is and said he would try his hardest to come tomorrow, but he didn't know if he could, but for sure the next week. Sadly he didn't come yesterday, but I really hope next week! I have never had an investigator ask to come to church. It usually takes like 10 invitations and a member picking them up and going with them. I am SO glad that we talked to Manny 2 weeks ago. We had walked past him and then felt like we should go back and talk to him and what if we hadn't?! He is so ready for the gospel!
Then there is the Malacad family- Arnel and Josaphine. I talked about them last week, but this week we were able to also teach their 18 year old son. He was so interested in our message and was super excited about the pamphlet we gave him. Their family is super awesome! They read the pamphlet we gave them last time and read in the Book of Mormon! I am so excited for all of them! I just love all of our investigators and hope that they will keep progressing!
It probably sound like everyone is receptive because I only really talk about the receptive people, but we have a lot of really hard situations here is Legazpi. One of the hardest things that we see all the time is with people who are really strong in other faiths. We have had 2 Investigators tell us that they KNOW that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church and the know the Book of Mormon is true, but they just aren't willing to give up their life in their church. That is their life- their friends, their job, its what they do and they don't want to give that up. It breaks my heart.
Best thing ever! So do you know the Gentleman song and dance? It came out after I left, it is really big here and i'm sure you all know it and have seen the video and I just sound like an idiot. But all the kids sing it and do the dance here. So we stopped by a members house on Tuesday to ask where a family lived and I got their two adorable little boys to do it for me and then they got these tennis rackets and did a performance for me! They sang some song I didn't know and did air guitar! SO CUTE! I videod some of it! I'll send a picture of them too!
One of my favorite people here is Brother Eddie. He is the President Guanzons brother and he lives with them right now. He is a recent convert to the church. He is halarious and is always joking around with the missionaries. He drove me and Sister Feinga home from the Guanzons the other night and we made this whole plan how I am going to design a house here in the Philippines for my vacation home so I can come back and visit all the time and he will live in it and be the groundkeeper when I am not there! We made a "pangako" so now its legit and it has to happen!
So we get fed all the time! On Tuesday we had two dinner appointments in a row and then tonight the same thing! Then the Guanzons feed us every time we go there! Then the Elders took us to lunch today and ordered us all this food and payed for it all! Good thing we walk a lot, or I would be huge! Too much food here in the Philippines.
We got transfer announcements this week and Sister Marila will be leaving our apartment tomorrow. I'm going to miss her so much! So we will be getting a new sister for Sister Mataele's follow up. Hopefully she will be as fun as Sister Marila!
I figured out that I have taught 123 lessons since I have been in the Philippines! I still struggle to say exactly what I want in Tagalog, but each day it gets a lot better! Each day I improve a little more. I have so much to learn, but I just have to look at how far I have come! So many phrases are becoming natural and I hardly ever speak strait English. In fact when I talk to the Senior Couple missionaries, who don't know any Tagalog I have a really hard time because I can't use any Tagalog and some words have just become so automatic.
Now I know what a Typhoon feels like! It hasn't stopped raining today and yesterday! The streets by our apartment have turned into rivers. It just POURS. It is crazy. I love it, except for when we have to walk through the mud in the jungle to teach. It is fun to watch though when we are in the apartment. It has been pretty cool because of it and I was cold when we were outside earlier. I am going to die when I get back to Utah in the winter. I'm pretty sure it was still 70 degrees and I was cold.
I really love my mission so much! I have just been happy to be here this week! I love the growth from the hard times, I love the appreciation I am gaining for friends and family at home, I love the Sisters in my mission, I love all the missionaries, the culture, the people, our investigators, the ward members, the food, the rain, and just everything! I can't believe how fast the time is going!
I love you all so much! Thanks for all the support! Magmiss kayo!!! Mahal Kita!!!
-Sister Gardner
Getting ready for Bday party in our apartment

Elder Bday Party

Mayon Volcano

Doing the Gentleman dance

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