Monday, September 2, 2013


Lahat mga astig pamilya at kaibigan ko!
This week was a little slower than usual, it had its ups and downs...but of course the good times made it all worth it! First of all...MERRY CHRISTMAS! Yes, it is officially Christmas is the Philippines! There is Christmas music playing everywhere! We are going to try and find a christmas tree for our apartment! All the 'ber' months are considered Christmas time here. It's wonderful!
One of the best things about this week was that the Derosan family- they have us over for dinner every Monday- they got a new puppy! So now they have 3 puppies for me to play with! President Guanzon said all the missionaries need to cut their dinner appointments down to under an hour though, so the Derosans told me I am going to have to multitask and eat and play with the dogs at the same time.
Wednesday was an amazing day! We got 8 new investigators out of one lesson! We had OYM'd to these 4 woman at a tindahan last week and said we would come back the next week. They didn't seem to interested, so we weren't expecting much. We figured they would be too busy to listen. Never have expectations! So we go to the the tindahan and the first girl went and got one of the others, then they went and got the 3rd and then come back and get us and take us to the house of the 4th lady and we taught all of them and all of their kids there! Turns our they are all sisters! They are so awesome! They had so many questions and were really trying to understand. That is rare here usually when we ask if people have questions they just say 'wala'. One of the sisters was especially interested and kept asking what she needed to wear to church and what happened at church. So we have 5 new Investigators. The 4 sisters and 4 of their kids are above age 8. How awesome would that be if they could all support each other in the gospel. 4 families!!! They said they want us to teach their husbands too- so we will go back and teach everyone this week!
On Thursday it was our district leaders birthday so we had the best surprise ever! We planned it with this family in our ward. They invited him and his companion over for a dinner appointment. He had asked us Sisters were going and we said no, but we were there with decorations and the family made all this food and we bought a big cake! So he walks in and all the lights were off and Brother Derosan (there are 4 Derosan families in our ward) he said it was a brown out. Then we come out with the candles all lit on the cake singing and he was so surprised! It was so fun and a way to get closer to the members! The whole day we pretended we had forgot his birthday. It was great!
I just have to talk about the Nelson's. They are the senior couple in our ward that are on a welfare mission. They live next door to us. So on Friday they were taking this really really old member of our ward around and just spending time with her. She is just skin and bones, she can't walk at all and so she hasn't been to church for 6 years. She wanted to go to the church and so they brought her there and we were there for our district meeting. They had us sing to her and she was crying and was so happy to see missionaries. She is one of the pioneer members of the church here. Then we saw them later in town while we were getting lunch and they had taken her to lunch and bought her groceries. They were on their way to buy her mangoes because they are her favorite. They just spent all day taking care of this woman. They are so kind! They were talking to us and saying how lucky they were to be welfare missionaries and serve and get to know such wonderful people. Elder Nelson starting crying as he told us how much he loved this woman. He would lift her out of her wheel chair and into the car. I want to be as giving as the Nelsons!
Saturday was soo hot, but so beautiful and sunny! We went to Lamba- one of our far areas. We go past this long stretch of beach to get there and holy cow! It was stunning! The water was glistening and so many people were on their boats in the water and all the huts along the beach were open! Man, I can't wait to go swimming there in 15 months! I was just thinking how I really can't believe I get to live somewhere this beautiful!
One of my favorite less active families that we visit is the Bongon family because of their son Mark Joseph! He is 15. We visited them on Friday and we asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon and he said yes. A lot of the time the people here just say that- so we asked him where he was and he opened up his Book of Mormon and showed us right where he was and he had it marked. I was so proud of him! His mom told us that He always reads and that he is top of his class at school! Me and my companion want to get him a bookmark for his scriptures just to show how proud we are of him! Him and his mom came to church yesterday and we got to sit by them! We were so happy! Mark Joseph comes to church pretty often, but his mom hasn't come for around 3 months.
We had Stake Conference yesterday and Elder Hawk of the area presidency came and spoke! He was awesome! He told the story in more depth that he told during October conference about when the officer found his Book of Mormon while he was in the marines and therefore was the only Marine that didn't get ridiculed. He talked about how thankful he was for the Mormon that had been the good example to the officer. It is so important to be a good example to everyone. You never know who is watching and the chain of people that your example will affect. He was such a good speaker and there were so many people at the conference it was awesome! We got to meet a group of the new missionaries from the last transfer. They are awesome! It made me feel 100x better about the language! They were really struggling. It made me realize how far I have come since I have been here!
I've been feeling really exhausted and worn out the past few days, but it is all worth it! Exhausted is an understatement, but so is happy. They joy that comes from missionary work is unreal! When you see someone walk into church that you didn't think would come, or when someone accepts a baptisimal date, or when people keep their commitments, or when someone sincerely wants to hear your message. It is a joy that can't be experienced in any other way!
Okay...I saved the best for last! The Malacad Family!! We extended the baptisimal date to their 18 year old son this week and he accepted! We were able to teach the son and daughter this week and they were sooo astig!!!! Kuya (what we call youngish boys) had read the pamphlet! At the end we asked if he would pray and he knew how because he had read the pamphlet. He grabbed it turned right to the page and reviewed it quickly- then gave an awesome prayer. Ate (Youngish girl) is shy, but so sweet and always smiles when we come by to teach or just to say hi. So Sunday was a rollarcoaster of emotions with them. The night before we texted Kuya and the mom about church. Kuya texted and said what time and then said they would all be there! They know the Bishop and he told us they told him they were coming! So we texted them and they said they were on their way, so we said text us when they were close and they say okay. I was so excited!!! I was almost crying I was so happy! So we wait, and wait, and wait, and conference is almost over and they weren't there. Then we get a text that says they found out their grandma got sick while they were on their way and they had so rush to her. I was heart broken to say the least. At least they tried though and I really hope that means they will for sure be there next week! This family is seriously so awesome! I have never prayed so hard for something in my life. I want them to have the gospel in their lives so bad! I think of them constantly and look forward to their baptism!
I love you all so much! Thanks for the constant support! Miss you like crazy and hope that all is well!
Mahal Kita!
-Sister Gardner

At the Derosan family home


Legaspi view at sunset

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