Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 - Nice, France

Ring out wild bells, to the wild sky

Ring out the old, ring in the new!

ma famille et mes amis,

thanks for the lyrics, dad!!! and Bonne Année, à tous!! Crazy how the year flies, n'est pas? Seriously, I was in the mtc in april, and now I'm 8 months into my mission! holy COWWWWWhowdoesthathappen??! so yeah. I'm actually really excited for a new year! Ring out the old, ring in the new! Become a better person this year! achieve the unachievable! give it your all and expect nothing in return!!! I feel like thats from a film...yeah. I cant remember which, though. oh man!! what is the name of that actress who is from the help, easy a, crazy stupid love? emma somehting? totallly off? Its just a person randomly brought up in a conversation between my comp and I and I can not remember her name for the life of me!!! its killlling meeeeee!! so if I find out next week I'd be happy. thanks! So this next year's theme is this random quote from whoever (soeur marker saw it in french on some guys t-shirt):

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing ENTHUSIASM."

I have come to realize that I do best on my mission when I am super enthusiastic. so! my goal is to be that more! When I'm feeling enthusiastic I have lots of energy and am just eager to do my best. This is my main goal for this year. Even when I  get home! since I"ll be home this year. thats a WEIRD thought. holy cow sister missionaries' time is so much shorter then elders!!!!! 6 months is HUGE. at least as a missionary. So being with my comp, who goes home in 2 transfers and 2 weeks, its got me thinkin about going home, which is super lame cause I've only been out, what, 8 months? I have no idea! But point being, it helps me realize how much I need to improve now so I dont regret later. I mean, soeur marker is a GREAT missionary, but shes hard on herself sometimes and I dont want to be that way. So yeah. Umm..we made sarah a really cute baptismal calender (beach-themed cause she loves the heat) because we set a baptismal date with her!!!!!!! February 2nd!!!!! the day before Asa's birthday!! 3 days before my birthday! what a great weekend!!!!!!!! Hollaa! shes super solid, and we're so stoked!!!!! Today we're not having our pday, we're going to monaco to do service for a phillipino family in our ward, the concha's. they are the sweetest family and they have 2 little girls and one of them looks like what shelb looked like when she was a little girl!!!!! sooo cute. they speak english. so that is great and we'll be having dinner with them and finishing hte missionary game with em too.

so last thursday we went to aix-en-provence! Its BEAUTIFUL!!! Just everything! its a college town too, so lots of young people! and after zone meeting (reason for going to aix) we all went as a group kind of, to this burrito shop, and they actually spicy! french people are a little afraid of spicy things so if they say its spicy, its super mild with a hint of spice. haha. but this burrito place...spicy!! I got a 3 out of 5 on spicy, and it was SO HOT. maybe its also cause I'm accustomed now to super mild foods. lots of pepper does burn my mouth.. I know..i'm embarrassed. haha. My texan roots!! ah!! 

But christmas was so great talking to yall!!!! I was seriously like confused the first 20 min. skype was weirdin me out, just the fact that everyone was sitting there and felt unreal! but then things got better. haha. I am so thankful for all the gifts yall sent!!!! i felt so loved!!!!! I didnt really get to thank yall, so many questions about france..and I didnt even say much in french!!!!! I was mad at myself afterward. sorry. I was a little overwhelmed. next time will be better! haha. i'll speak french and thank everyone for stuff. in french!! it will be great! aha. This past week has FLOWN by! its out of control! and we're already starting our 5th week for this transfer! out-of-con-trol!!!!!!! So less then two weeks left of this transfer in Nice. cray. 

Already, well I gotta fly, but I LOVE yall so much! I know this Gospel is true! I know that we have a prophet on the earth today to guide us and direct us, to protect us from the evils in the world. I know that through the atonement we can start a new life for the new year! Let us all become disciples of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Lets all read the talk, "The First and Greatest Commandment" by Elder Jeffrey R Holland, and become who we were designed to be. I am so grateful for yall in my life (my family AND friends!) and pray that you have an incredible week and great new years!! and as president roney says, "stay away from the sherry!" haha

Love yall so much!!!!!

love always,

ps: could someone send me the talk, "the fourth missionary"? its not a conference talk, its a talk given at byu or something, so you have to google it or something and I'm not allowed, sooo...thanks!!!

..and I LOVE letters and photos!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 - Nice, France

on the 12th day of christmas..

Bonjour ma famille et mes amis!!

So I dont have much time, buuut I will totally be talking to all of you TOMORROW!! Well...minus the friends. But still. So exciting!!! Skype time!! Tonight we are going to a member, Monique's, house, and theyre having a group of singles together for Christmas which all of a sudden sounds kind of pathetic for us to go also...but they invited us. hahaha. No, I lovvvve them, one of the members that will be there, Violetta, is from Peru but has lived in France for the past 30 years so speaks great french! And she teaches our ami, Sarah, with us often. Shes great! Tomorrow we're going to visit some families after SLEEPING IN (our president loves us), and then go to the missionary couple, the Perry's, for Christmas dinner and skyping yall. It t'will be great! 

So for the past 3 weeks we have had choir practice for church on wednesdays and we've sometimes taken amis there with us, and we performed yesterday! so...we didnt have the best sounding sopranos, but they were all heart! they were so into it! I was also a soprano, and being raised with the brothers I have, I was a little nervous performing a song with people who werent totally on tune all the I prayed like all morning at church after practicing before church began! All morning when I would think about it. And so we go up to sing, and I'm like, its all good! im proud of these women just for trying! and we began singing and it was...incredible. Seriously. It was crazy. And it wasnt just ME! like we had people coming up to us and telling us that it was so great! not trying to make us feel good!!!! When we were singing, I honestly heard other voices behind me, and no one was there. Other voices that had verbratto (sp?) and were loud and hitting all the notes! This sounds terrible to say that none of the women with me sing that way, but its true and I heard other voices!! We were singing with angels yesterday. when people came to tell us how good it sounded, they said it was like angels were singing, and thats because it was. I know that angels are real. I know that there were angels and miracles in the biblical times, and they are still happening. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that he is giving us all the keys to being happy in these last days. Life is hard; staying strong and doing the right thing is hard to do in times like these, but it is possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ. He came to redeem of us our sins, to help us progress, and to strengthen us in time of need. I know this. We can have angels help us in times of need, even times of singing for church (!), and we can be angels for others. Through christmas attacking so man people have been touched by such a simple act. Never underestimate the importance of showing your love for others. They really do notice. 

Okay, I have to go, but I am so excited to talk to you tomorrow!!!!!!! Think of how this is all goin to go down, so we dont have to waste minutes from our precious hour figuring it out! 

I love you all sooooooo incredibly much! My heart is full with love for you!!! Have a very merry Christmas!!!

Love always,
Soeur Gardner

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 - Nice, France

O Come, Emmanuel!

ma famille!

I love you. I love you so much. And I am so grateful for everything that you do for me, did for me, and will do for me. Last night really got me thinking about yall (getting a call from dad about Joni's death), and how important you are to me. I dont feel like I havent expressed this before, but I just wanted to take the first moments of my email to express that before it begins to get into other topics. By the way, I would love to get these lyrics next week, dad! And Anthony and ben, could you prepare a nice little duet of this for skyping on Christmas? I think that would be the coolest thing EVERRRRRR!!!!!!!! And I'm sure my companion would love it also. Thanks!! Speaking of skyping, let me know if that time is good for yall from the last email, please! 

So this last week was great! I'm getting much more comfortable contacting and such in such a HUGE ville!! people everywhere! but it has to be done! We like to STREETBOARD! Basically you have a streetboard and approach people walking past. It is one of those things you just have to get over being embarrassed or feeling awkward over and just doing it! cause it needs to be done! Its great. and we get a LOT more numbers then just contacting or porting! never had success with porting. anywho. we streetboarded this guy named Sassy! our sassy contact! haha. its pronounced"seh-see" and I just approached him and began talking cause he was looking at our board and he basically just asked for the address of the church and showed up yesterday for the last two meetings and apologized for being late, sat through all of them and was like agreeing with our ami lesson on CHASTITY and then sang all the hymns with us for sacrament! needless to say we set up a rendez-vous with him for tomorrow. :) 

Soeur marker and I set goals like soeur bertolio and I set goals; HARDCORE!!! so stoked!! Going for the all or nothin view of a mission; go hard or go home!!! as I would always say to elder gruber. haha. so we had a great week, and its just gonna get better!!!! tomorrow we are going to a members house in monaco and going to a carnival for their daughters birthday, then thursday we have zone christmas party/conference. haha. its combined with the montpellier zone, so I think I'll see Elder call from my mtc district! holla! 

well gotta fly, but thanks for all you do for me, family. youre my anchor. Be smart, careful, and listen to the Spirit always. ask yourself daily, "have I done any good in the world today?" I love you!! Spread christmas cheer!!!

love always,

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012 - Nice, France

little algeria

ma famille,

bonsoir! sorry this is so late, we just had lessons this morning/afternoon! holy cowwwwwwww nice is HUGE! there are people EVERYWHERE and it is a little overwhelming for me. seriously. like toulouse there were a lot also, but it wasnt my ville. so yeah. this is...awesome. I just need to pull MYSELF TOGETHER. lol. soo! yeah! soeur marker is so awesome!! its crazy how well we know each other and its literally been a week. the mish! shes fun and we are both super eager to spread christmas cheer!! we have decided to go to members homes and "christmas attack" them with a christmas tree (paper on thtier door, not really a christmas tree...hahaha) or snowflakes because soeur marker is a beast at making em! and do it ananymously(sp???) and make their day a bit brighter. hopefuly. and make them american treats and go carolling, preferably with the elders and hte couple missionaries, not just us. haha. mais quand-même!! so yeah. super exciting. 

we taught a second lesson to this guy, osa's (pronounced "o-sax") who is superrrr believing and is from nigeria. he speaks english so we teach him in english and it is SO WEIRD!!!!!! we taught him the first lesson today and i was like, I have no idea what to say!!! haha. but we got through it well and he accepted baptism with a date!!!!!! he has  wife and a little baby boy. so cute. we also have a progressing ami, sarah, who has a baptismal date but she is like scared of getting baptized in the winter because its too cold? yeah, we will figure out if hteres a different reason behind that. 

so we have been trying to find, we made this street board that says "if you could ask God one question...what would it be?" in french, and behind it we put a bunch of questions that people have usually (the main question is in black and bigger then the other questions) and people actually stopped and looked at it, some even took pictures! but we didnt have it up long because we didnt have much time to street board that day AND the é"é"à(ç( jehovah witnesses came over and began asking us questions with their little pully brochure thing and they wouldnt leave so I left soeur marker talking to them and dragged our sign (hahaha) like 2 yards away from them and soeur marker told em to get and then we continued. lol. it was funny, but really annoying!! but yeah. this week we plan on street boarding three times with the elders, so we will progress more! so stoked!!

the first day that I was here I was sitting at my desk and there were two muslim boys walking past our gate (by our window) and one stopped and saw me sitting at the desk talking to soeur marker, then was like trying to peak through the gate and i was like, rolling my chair to different spots so he couldnt see me and he was like starting to laugh and i was like, soeur marker that boy is watching us!! and she was like, wha? and i like got up and went to into the bedroom so he couldnt see me and we were laughing so hard because soeur marker was like, of all the transfers ive been here this has NEVER happened!!! and then she was like, what do I do?? and then she got the great idea to close the blind thing and the guys were like yelling to us and soeur marker was like, theyre trying to talk to us!!!! and was just laughing. it was hilarious. hahahaha. good times. 

so there are 3 equips in NICE!! 3! an elder equipe, then a couple missionaries, the Perry's, who we are going to for christmas night and we will be trying to skype you then! okay! questions that I need answers to!!! or more of information that you need to remember:
-we will be skyping you around 7 or 8pm, nice, France time, which is noon or 1pm Texas time I believe. you might want to double check. SO! Do you have a skype account? if you dont, get one and tell me the account name so I can find you. I will be using soeur markers account, which the name of it is markerr (she thinks..I had a skype account but I dont remember it anymore..). Is this all alright with you? is the time good?  

Okay! another announcement, the transfer dates will be changing in 2 transfers, and now I will be going home a week earlier then before, so now my release date is October 29th! Its because the mtc time for missionaries has been cut back a LOT, like now instead of 9 weeks it is 6 weeks. Okay, think those are all the announcements.
so for two days during meals we watched "17 miracles" and by the end of it, I was like dying. I sobbed. SOBBED! I dont remember the last movie, or TIME, that I sobbed! I'm super emotional on the mission, apparently. But you gotta admit that is a SAD movie!!!! Holy cow I DIED!!! 

So we bought a christmas tree and lights and eveyrthing and it looks so good!!!! oh my goodness you would all be impressed. I love it!! and we have watched mr krugers christmas 3 times already! hahahaha. we need christmas music. 

okay, well, I think I should be going! Christmas is great, and I love the Savior! our ward is great!!!! our chapel is HUGE!!!!!! its like a temple on a hill, and the building is seriously bigger then ours in azle, which is crazy impressive for being in france!! there are lots of russians here, too, randomly enough! haha, its great. 

I love you all and share the gospel! It makes you happy, so make others happy by sharing it!!!!!! Its the time of the season for LOV-INNNNG!!!!! lol. no I was NOT referencing an oldies song...

cant wait to talk to yall in a few weeks! I love letters and photos!!!!!

love always,

ps: why that title? I may or may not be in the cheapest internet café in nice surrounded by muslims, inside and outside of the café...hahaha. at least I have dark hair! poor soeur marker and her blonde self. lol. but its good, the main worker protects us. hes very kind. :)

okay, and just fyi its not a super bad side of town, its right off the road from a main part of the city. love ya! and ill stay safe!!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4, 2012 - Nice, France

what child is this?


first off, could someone send me these lyriics? second off, I got TRANSFERRED! to NICE!!!!!!!! pronounced "neese", for those of you who didnt know. Holy moley I was so sad to leave pau and all the members that I love and the amis and everything!! But I prayed that I would get through and continue progressing and I feel so good right now to be in Nice! Its a lot bigger than pau and it has people on the streets all the TIME!! And its just a little bit warmer then pau, but warmer nonetheless! AND our appt is like 3 blocks from the beach! when I get good photos I will send you some. So my comp in teh mtc, soeur harris, was in nice the whole time I was in pau and we literally switched places! crazy, huh? My new companion is soeur marker, who was here in nice for 3 transfers, had soeur harris as a blue, then after one transfer was transferred out, then after 2 transfers of being somewhere else was transferred BACK to nice, had soeur harris as a comp again for 1 transfer, and now ME! haha. so i am sooooo stoked!! I just got this great mission-energy boost this morning when we were talking about goals, cause she was touching on things that I want to do and work on and it was just great. And we were walking to do emails just a while ago and she began contacting then was like, your turn! like soeur bertolio and it was so great!! I got super excited. haha. so my new address issssss:

les missionnaires
soeur devan gardner
10 ave des Orangers appt 8
06000 Nice

so yeah> super cool, and we get to go to monaco for pday!!! HOLLAH!! hahaa, i got the call to be transferred here and i was like, my parents are going to be so happy. lol. soeur raney was like, arent you excited? and i was like, yeah, of course, but they are excited because now they get to visit after my mission!!! hahaha.

so things are great! Alex got baptized saturday, right before I had to leave! It was so great, and the lavie children were planning on singing I am a child of god, and they got up (more then half of the ward was there!!!) and the oldest, Immanuel, waved me over, and I thought they wanted me to fix the leading music hold the book thing cause I had been leading the music, so i fix it and then he like motions for me to stand with them, and Im like, you want me to sing with you? and he shakes his head yes, so I sang with them! oh my goodness I love them. it was so great. then sunday we went over to celebrate one of the sons birthday's, and when we were leaving soeur lavie prayed with all of us, including alex and we prayed holding hands, and she prayed for me and it was just so humbling! I cried. oh man, so yeah, it was so sad but so great. 

so soeur marker wants to show christmas cheer for all to hear (she didnt really say that, exactly, but she will!) and i am SOOO on it!!!! AHHH I LOVE CHRISTMAS!! I love this gospel with all my heart! I love Jesus Christ! we are so blessed!! Count your blessings, then show your gratitude by being a blessing for others!
I love you all, I love this gospel, I love letters, and I love photos! Have a GREAT week!!!

aka; souer gardner

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More Pictures :)

1-thanksgiving dinner on sunday with three families at the wright's home. these were the ladies! and a few babies. :)

2- lourdes! elder fox was opening his umbrella right above my head to get me wet, hence my eyes being closed; haha. check out the size of the candles you can buy!!!!!!! CRAZYYYYY!!
(I tried and tried, but Blogspot will not correct the image orientation)

 3- where they light a lot of different sized candles. ariel in the white skirt, the elders heck and fox behind her.

4-being all artsy-check out the reflections! and the yellow against the dark!! love itttt.

Pictures :)

1-I dont remember which photo  pressed, and something!

 2-soeur raney, soeur waldron, soeur bayles and I at our zone meeting/thanksgiving fest. they are the other soeurs in our zone; they're in Eysines area, which is in bordeaux.

3-Petite Sarah ready for her baptism!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012 - Pau, France


bonjour, ma famille!

okay! so today we went to Lourdes encore!! soeur raney and elder heck hadnt been there, and the elders in bayonne didnt want to come, so we had ariel come with us! the american student here for the semester. she is AWESOME! (and reading this) lol. but really. anywho! we had a good time, but almost all the stores were closed and the resturaunts and it was raining and cold but we had FUNNNN!!! and took a bus to lourdes which took 40 min (double to time it takes to get there by train), but it was worth it! we had lunch with the elders and saw the crazy church and got some holy water for yall (dont drink it or you'll need a blessing) and took lots of photos. :)

this week was great!! we had thanksgiving in bordeaux with the whole zone, we finished teaching alex all his lessons, and he has his interview in bordeaux with the zone leaders (he works ther during the week) on wednesday night, and he's totally ready for baptism!!! we went through the questions TWICE and he  was like, yeah we're all good! and yeah. hes sooo solid I'm SOOO HAPPY FOR HIM!!!!!!! and Soeur LAVIE!! Eternal families!!!!!!!! o my goooooodnesssss soooo great. his baptism is on SATURDAY, the second to last day of the transfer! and he's gettting the gift of the holy ghost on sunday! how great is that??! so yeah. dont have lots of time, but I do have some photos from lourdes so I will post them for yallllll!

OH, yesterday we had a dinner with three families in the ward at the Wrights and had a thanksgiving of our own!!! we didnt have turkey (supperrrr hard to get here), so we had rooster. mais c'etait bon!! vraiment!! donc oui. it was awesome. and it was soo cute. court, you would have died.

okay, gottttta goo, main stuff taken care of? oh! and yesterday soeur raney gave a talk and I bore my testimony, which is always awesome to do in another language, and shared doctrine and covenants 128:22 I think. Joseph Smith, Jr. it was great! someone even asked me afterward for the scripture reference! we have had a great week!!!!!!

okay! passez une bonne soirée! je vous aime!!!!!!!!!!!!!

love always,

p.s. will send photos after fhe!

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012 - Pau, France


this has to be superrrrrr short, so sorry! quick run-down of this week:

-SARAH GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY AND CONFIRMED ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!! YEAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! she is the cutest little thing.
-Monday night for FHE we went to the Wright's, an American family (well, she's originally from english speaking-Canada) and we had dinner and made caramel apples! it was so fun, cause we made the caramel from melting caramel in the microwave because we didnt know how to melt it in the pot. lol
-We called president and are allowed to go to Marie and Roger's wedding on December 1st!!!!
-we FINALLY got ahold of a woman who soeur bertolio and I contacted who was really interested in the church, and we have a rendez-vous with her this week!!!

aaaaaaaaaand yeah! things are going great here!!!! people are becomming receptive to the gospel! we have rendez-vous all this week! life is GREAT!!!!!!! We will be having a thanksgiving dinner thing at our zone meeting this thursday in Bordeaux, and then another on Sunday at the Wright's. I was told to bring a pie! :-D

I love this gospel, and I know that our Heavenly Father loves us!!! The Book of Mormon is truly the word of God!

Have an AWESOME Thanksgiving!!!!!!!! Say hello to the family for me at the reunion!

I love you all so much!!!!


Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012 - Pau, France

Jésus-Christ, Sauveur du Monde, en ton coeur donne un abri!

ma famille!

BonJOUR!!!! How are you??! okie dokie, first things first, yesterday I met an APOSTLE of the LORD!!!!!!! Second things second, we had EXCHANGES!! HOLLA!!! So we'll start with the latter.

Yesterday morning we took a bus up to Bordeaux with our lovely ward of Pau-ee-ins (I have no clue what they call themselves, definitely not that, but whatevs), and we went to stake conference! it was great!! And in FRENCH! ha, of course! But I saw so many members and I remembered all their names and was like, ADAM! Soeur Toumazou! othernamesofpeople!! It was crazy. And I was like, wow, I LOVE these people! and they LOVE me!! It was a great experience. And the Leang family picked us up from our appartement to go to the church to get on the bus to GO to bordeaux, and he had told us that one of the missionaries who baptized HIM would be there and he was so excited to see him!! and after conference we were waiting on the missionaries so we could head over to the stake center for zone conference and elder arnold, one of our zone leaders (he's been zl as long as i've been in pau!) was like, soeur gardner! and I was like, huh? and there was this couple standing there and the man asked if I knew frere leang, and I was like, yeah! and he was like, I'm one of the missionaries who baptized him! and I was super excited and I ran around the conference center trying to find him!! I asked people, I was everywhere, and at last, I FOUND him!! and I was like, the missionary who baptized you is over there!! and I led them to each other and they both were glossy-eyed and embraced and it was beautiful. Oh my. I get teary-eyed thinking about it. Such a magical moment. And knowing the Leang's!! Theyre such a great family!!! His son is in the stake presidency! and he is the nicest man and he has the missionaries (us) over EVERY week for dinner!! they are SO incredible!!! It was like a "what you'll feel like in 20 years" kind of moment for me. So! I got to see all my friends (minus soeur harris and soeur bertolio) in the mission!!!!! It was sooo cool!!! And we got to have Elder Neil L Anderson speak to us!!!!!!!! holy cow, it was soooo incredible!!! what a boost!! Spiritual boost needed: accomplished ten-fold. seriously. wow!!! so great!!!

Things are great here in pau! once last week, we were going contacting, and we prayed specifically to find a man, between 20 and 30, searching for the truth, and literally right after we finished the prayer we turned to walk on to the sidewalk and I stopped a guy about to walk past us and was like, hi, we're missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ. We have a message about the goal of life. are you interested? and he was like, oui! and we were like, whoa! hahaha. it was CRAZY!! and he gave us his number and we set up a rendez-vous on the spot and he actually walked us to his apartment to show us where he lived (right aroun the corner), then literally the next guy we contacted was around 25, and he looked at our name tags and was like, wait are you all mormons? and we were like, yeah! heard of us? and he's like, yeah, actually I wanted to know more about what you believed! it was psycho. like the good psycho that gets you amis. MIRACLES. it was incredible. we taught him the first lesson on the spot. And I taught almost all of it! and he understood! gift of tongues. it was crazy. Miracles happen all the time.

okay, exchanges, I was with soeur taylor again in toulouse, and it was a lot of fun! we taught 3 lessons in one day, and asked one to be baptized on dec 15 or something and he was like, bien sur! do you really think I'll be ready by then??? and we were like, uhhh YEAH!! it was so great! And yeah. things were so cool. we contacted these two guys who are totally athiest, and it made me so sad. we had a long discussion with them, me with one named pierre, and soeur taylor with this other guy, and he was so set on the point of life is no point. which makes no sense. and it just hurt my heart to see someone so far away from the truth, so hard-hearted. he was a cool guy and was nice and respectful, but he was just completely set on his way and when I gave him the book of Mormon, he wouldn't take it. I started that off with asking him if he liked to read, and he's a super philosophical guy, so he's like, yeah, I love to read, so I was like, okay, well here's a book, and I pulled it out and he laughed and he was like, I wont read that. and I was like, what philosophers do you want me to look up and read? and he started naming all these guys and I was like, okay, I'll read them if you read this, and he was like, I wont. I'm sorry. and it was just so incredibly pathetic. for him, for everything. And I was just like, okay. I find it very interesting how you find us close-minded because of our beliefs, but how I will read your books and you wont read mine. I shouldnt have said that, but I did. and he was like, yeah, I'm sorry. but yeah. that was interesting. He was a very intellecual guy, around 25 or so, clearly went to university and knew his stuff on philosophy. What really struck me was how we need to have a solid testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have to be able to stand up against every Pierre in our life who tries to tell us we are wrong or that we are dumb for believing in something so incredible. We need to be able to handle this situation. Luckily I came away sad for him, not questioning my testimony. This was a trial of my faith, and it really held true. I know that we have a purpose. and that we have a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to return to Him again. MIracles happen every day, if we just notice these things in our life!!

I love this gospel. It makes me so incredibly happy and feel so humble because we have the responsibilty  to take this message to everyone here!! It's our duty! I know that we have a prophet on the earth today. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. If you dont believe this, pray about it. You will recieve an answer if you have an open heart and mind. Read the words of the prophets and the apostles. they are truly the word of God.

I love yall sooo much and I pray for you ALL-THE-TIME!!!!!!

I also looove letterss. :)

love always,

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012 - Pau, France

The Lord is my light! He is my joy, and my song!!


guess what? I have officially been to a RUGBY MATCH!! Holla!!! and it was soooo cool!!!!! We went to visit the Fekitoa's (husband is tongan and on the pau team along with the Fakalelu's) and they invited us! and got us tickets with them because they're awesome!!!and we were sitting right in the front and got to see the game and it was just super cool. President said we could. and he told us to try not to get into any fights. we made no promises. haha. No, but it was so sweet! And what was also super cool was that I met some of the players who were playing, and some had even kissed me!!! lol. bisous! when I was like, ah! no! anyway! so that was awesome. and its like, professional rugby! so I kind of feel like soeur bertolio and i didnt even realize how big of a deal it was to meet/know players, or teach them! like Saula and josefa! craycray!!! okay. so, we have been asked to study talks by elder neil l anderson because he's COMING TO ZONE CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!! WHA??!!! No big deal, just an Apostle of the Lord is coming to our zone conference to give us direct revelation. so yeah. we're also making it combined conferences, so we will have montpelier and toulouse there also! which means!!! I'll get to see my friends, elder call and elder kunzler! sweet!! and yeah. so that's super exciting and I'll have a LOT  to say about Elder Anderson's teachings next time. SO STOKED!!!!

So I read one of his talks from conference (2010? 2011? I dunno) and it was called "children". what a great talk. i was like, oh no, I cant read this, it'll make me want children!!" and it did, but it also was perfect to share with soeur Fekitoa, who we went to see that day! so we shared that with her and thanked her for being a mom and had made her brownies like the sister missionaries that we are. haha. We also tried to visit the Fakalelu's a few days later but they werent home and so we left cookies at their door and a note and soeur fakalelu called and was like, I think you made a mistake, we havent done anything...haha. and we were like, no, its just because! she was really touched. it was awesome!! I love showing love!!!!!!! It's the best feeling EVER!!!

I think that is one thing I have learned this week, is the great feeling it is to show love. obviously I have been learning that my whole mission, but with members and everyone, really, it has become more! because soeur bertolio is so good at it, and soeur raney is working on it, so I try to show all the love I have! BIG smile, BIG concern for what others are saying (I'm beginning to understand and be able to speak a LOT more!!! yeahhhh!!!!!!!! hard work beats talent when talent doesnt work hard! lol, random quote that just came into my mind). It's so cool!!! I love it! 

So after we visited soeur fekitoa, we were wondering what to do, and this random guy asked us where a road went and then he was like, oh, your nametag says sister, you dont see that often! and we began to share our message with him and he was telling us a lot about france and the history and we taught him the super summed up version of the restoration! and HE asked to see us again! so we set up a rendezvous with him and it didnt go great. haha. He is a high schoo philosophy teacher, so he was like, talking all about philosophical things and speaking mainly english because "we didnt understand his high, elevated french vocabulary" because he's from the Bourgeoisie or however you spell it, an "aristocrat" by blood. haha. then when we were leaving the lesson, we asked if we could pray with him and he was like, no! no! but you can pray! go ahead! and we were like, uhh...and he was like, go ahead! pray! as he was getting his bike ready to go, and so soeur raney began praying and we hear his bike brake click up and the wheels of his bike rolling in the pebble sidewalk and we began laughing during the prayer because it was just so ridiculous that he was leaving DURING the prayer!! hahaha. good times. when we finished the prayer he was literally GONE!  it was hilarious!!!!!!!

Well, I have to go, but thanks for all the emails! I also love the surprise of finding letters in our mailbox! I know the church is true and am so grateful to be able to share the gospel with everyone in Pau! With a huuuuge smile!! I love yall!!!!!

devaneaux (for you, dad! lol)

p.s: I invite you all to read talks by elder anderson, also! the trial of our faith was the most recent!!! SOOO good. And "children". what a great talk!!!!! Oh man. Thank you mom, court, everyone who is a mother!! :D 

AND Alex has his baptismal date set for December 1st!!!! the end of the transfer!!!!!! yeahhhhhh!!!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012 - Pau, France

Standing on the road, trying to contact lots of people, I've got seven amis on my mind...


(Sorry this is short, didnt have a bunch of time!)

I hope you recognized the song in my title. But updated lyrics for the mission! "take it easy" by the eagles! hahaha. Soeur raney knows that song, too! so we were coming up with the lyrics sitting at the bus stop. yes, that was "sitting at the bus stop in Pau-oh-oh-oh-oh france", but it doesnt work as well. anyway! so this week! has been good. difficult, but good. so basically we didnt teach lessons, we just contacted and ported and walked everywhere and I had to show soeur raney the town and stuff and stuff. so we didnt have much success from the people we contacted and ported, to be honest. its hard doing that all the time and no one accepting rendez-vous and just telling you no all the time and blahblahblah complaincomplaincomplain. but you know what? I learned things from this. Very useful things. First thing, I learned that we are given trails to strengthen our character. I read "the Transforming Power of Faith and Character" by Elder Richard G Scott and it really helped me refocus. i was getting down because literally the past 4 weeks me and my companions have been trying to find new amis. have we found them yet? no. is it because we're not trying hard enough? I dont think it is. we are working our butts off, doing what we should be, being obedient, and having faith. and are our actions resulting to nothing? NO! Saturday night we were like, wow, looking at our numbers and stuff doesnt show how hard we've been working, but its not about numbers. and we are searching for the elect. if we arent finding new amis, we havent found the elect yet. plain and simple. So yesterday began, and it was incredible. It was just so great. I dont even know if it was the people we were talking to as much as it was me changing my attitude a little and just loving them, loving them till it hurt! haha. But really. and we taught marie and roger, and they are just so great and have a meeting on thursday with the law people to set up a date for their wedding so we can set a date for their baptisms, and they just love us so much! roger picks on me a lot, and its fun. he's like a french uncle I never had. they just love us. I felt so much love for and from them yesterday. then we taught the Lavie family with the  6 children, and Alex, soeur lavie's boyfriend was there, and he goes to church and has lessons when he's there on the weekends, and we have invited him to baptism several times and he's always like, yeah when i feel ready and wont accept a date. so yesterday we get there and are just talkign to them, and alex is like, "so I talked to the bishop about wanting to be baptized and he said to talk to the missionaries." and we were like, "ummm....Yeah!!!" and he said that he got an answer and he wants to get baptized! and before one of the older members, who is going to serve another mission, leaves on her mission, which is in the middle of december, so maybe sometime this transfer he'll be baptized!!!!!! He ASKED us to be baptized! And it was so incredible! oh my goodness. so great. And so we planned out what and when we'll teach him the rest of the lessons, which are only the ordinances because he has already recieved the first three lessons! It was a MIRACLE.

I know that Heavenly Father loves me. I know that He hears my prayers. We truly are given trials to become humble and to exercise the faith that we have. Each trial is for our good. As Frère Wilcox said and I've quoted this before, "what if we came out of every trial more Christlike?" After all, that's what we're here for and why we HAVE trails! And you know what? I'm grateful that I have had to struggle, that we have had to contact and porte and do all these things, to not be able to see results, but in reality there are many incredible miracles that have and will come from our hard work, whether it's miracles in Pau or someone in our district or in the mission! Heavenly Father hears each one of His children's cries. 3 Nephi 14:9-11, also the same scriptures as Matt 7.

I know that this church is true, and I am so grateful for it in my life. I am proud to be a missionary, and member, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I know that we are all here for a purpose. What an incredible knowledge! Our purpose! The reason why we have a life, why we're on the earth. There are so many wanting to the know the reasons for this, and we have it! Share the gospel! Tell your friends and coworkers and other family members! It's the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and we have it on the earth today! What an incredible knowledge!!! AHH! Lets all become disciples of Jesus Christ!

I Love you all, and I hope to hear from you very soon. (I love letters!!!)

love always,
-soeur gardner-

ps: an incredible quote that I have tried to begin applying to my life:
        "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." -Elder Scott from the talk I mentioned earlier. READ IT!!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012 - Pau, France

Till We Meet Again


I'm still in PAU! But...

yesterday was a hard day. Yep, we had transfers! And I lost my collegue of three transfers, my trainer, mom (mission-lingo..), and good friend yesterday. sad day. But it's okay! Because she was transferred to her homeland, Geneva, Suisse! And has an Italian companion, the only one in the mission! I seriously prayed that she would get to go back to Suisse and have an italian comp, because she wanted to go back to suisse to serve, and she never gets to speak her first language! And now I have soeur Rainey!! She was a soeur I met in the mtc, this is her 5th transfer and I'm on my 4th. so it will be interesting trying to understand people. haha. hahaha. Oh my. I have a feeling this will be a really hard transfer for me. But it will help me grow!! "All changes are good." And this is so true! Soeur Rainey is from FLAGSTAFF! Holla! She is from the opposite side of Flag, though, so yall probably dont know her family. Anyway, so that's that. she's really nice and we like to joke, so it's all good!

So! this last week was pretty great. We did a lot of contacting and porting (with soeur bertolio) and we didnt really get anything except one that I will tell you about in the next paragraph. Honestly, it was kind of disheartening. But we had to keep a prayer in our hearts and continue pushing forward and putting a smile on your face! It rained for seriously 3 days straight!!!! It doesnt do that in fort worth or provo, so I was like, the sky is falling!!!! and soeur bertolio is like, this is normal.. so yeah. I learned that it rains a lot here. So why do I say that it was pretty great? because we learned a little thing called faith. faith that the things that we are doing is benefiting not even just us, but someone in our mission. And that is hard when youre wanting to be able to tell everyone about the miracles happening in whatever ville that youre in, but honestly, I feel good about the work we put in to last week. Hard but yeah! thats life! c'est la freaking vie!! haha.

Wednesday we went to Salis du Béarn to do service for the Boza-Lino's, a young couple with two kids who just opened a boulangerie/patisserie! They are super nice and we love them. They're from Spain originally, but speak french also. so after we helped the wife clean her home (its a super old apt above the boulangerie that theyre redoing  a little bit), we went contacting for like 30 min, so after 20 min we are just turn onto a certain street and I approach a woman and ask if I can ask her a question, then she's like, what are you guys doing here?? in american english! so she had the elders who use to be in dax (we dont have elders there anymore) come do service for her all the time and she would go to church sometimes there, but now they dont have a ward there, they meet in bayonne or pau now, so she stopped going. so we talk to her and she is actually from hawaii (she's blonde. I guess her parents are from the mainland) and she has lived in france for 20 years and I lives with her bf who is now dying from lung cancer and they just took him off chemo because they cant do anything else. sad. but she was like, yeah let me get your number and we traded numbers and then I asked her if she would like to recieve the lessons and she was like, "what else is there to learn? haha" and I looked at her seriously and was like, "a lot. we recieve new revelation all the time!" and she was like, oh..yeah..then she said, "sure, why not?" and we set up an appt for this week! so we will see how that goes. she is really nice, so yeah! we also saw the steivenard's and had dinner with them, then had a lesson, and f. steivenard gave us a ride home with caroline, a recent convert who ate with us and is best friends with soeur steivenard. soeur bertolio had earlier invited him to church cause it was her last sunday but he didnt answer, then I told him I was singing and wanted him to be there, then he was quiet then later said he wasnt sure he'd be able to make it; and he didnt come, so that was sad, but he didnt outright say no!! both times he got quiet and during the lesson he really seemed touched. we used the talk by Dieter F Uchtdorf (of course, he would be my favorite if I had one!!! ;) ) about the woman comparing herself to a 20 dollar bill, that even though she's old and crumpled up and dirty, she is still worth 20 dollars. we used this to say that in Heavenly Father's eyes we are worth the full 20 dollars, and through the Atonement we can be pure and worthy. It is crazy, when we teach him we go in with a small lesson and then when we teach we are just speaking words that come to us. After our lessons with him, I'm like, what did I say?? lol. I never really fully remember, because we are given the words we need to say. In fact, that's how it is when we teach good lessons, I dont really remember what I say, I just remember that we had a great lesson. haha. It's great. I love this Gospel! It is so true!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! This morning I read, "of Regrets and Resolutions', a talk by (you guessed it) Dieter F Uchtdorf from this last conference, and it is incredible. READ IT!!!!  Holy moley, spiritual boost!

Marie and Roger are doing great! Marie has been asking about the temple a lot, and told one of our members, Soeur Chantaraud, that after her testimony about the temple, she has decided to go and be sealed there!! OH my GOSH!!! And they are just doing so great! They have such an incredble light in their eyes; I love it! I love them!!! Marie isnt being super mean anymore, and she's preparing everything for her wedding! She already has the dress and shoes and jewelry! haha, I'm such a girl. she was showing soeur bertolio and I, and we were oooo-ing and aww-ing. lol. and we are allowed to go into Saragosse again! And the other areas we werent allowed to go into!  Not at night, and we are to be super careful, but we can go now!!!! And we dont contact in that area. haha. they are almost all seriously muslim. It's ridiculous. But theyre not the crazy ones, we usually just see women. Anywho!

transfer news: Elder willett is still my district leader, elder wilson (his comp) was transferred to marseilles and now elder willett has Elder Dean, the elder from my mtc zone! hahaha. this will be a riot. And my mtc comp, Soeur Harris is still in Nice, like me, her fourth transfer, and she has her trainer as her comp (hse had her for only one transfer), elder Gruber is back in the Bordeaux zone, elder Arnold is still our Zone leader but his comp elder cushing was transferred to aix to train! whitewash!!! and who was in aix before? my friend from before the mission, elder Kunzler, who just finished his second transfer and is now ZONE LEADER in toulouse! WHA???? Out of control. And elder call is TRAINING!!! and we now have one companionship in corsica!CRAZY!DANGEROUS!haha. its like italy, crazy gangstas, apparently; so says soeur bertolio. she goes on "holiday" there. haha

So life has been sad for me but good the past few days. I try not to think about it, because I've been with soeur bertolio for a long time, and we seriously were like sisters. always togetherrr!!! sometimes it was annoying, but i loved it. she is so great!!!!! I miss her, but I love my new collegue! So! We will keep moving forward (meet the robinsons) and keep improving my french! a LOT this transfer because I dont have soeur bertolio to help me out when I'm not sure about a sentence I created in my head!! Oh man. hahaha. This is going to be GREAT! Gift of tongues. I also prayed to be a better student, and this is what happens. prayer is real, and watch what you pray for. lol.

I love you all and i pray that you each day at least! Read the talk by Pres Uchtdorf, "of Regrets and Resolutions" (it totally sounds like an old book of poetry and essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson or E.E. Cummings, dont you think? ) and keep praying for me, my mission, and the gift of tongues!

I love you allllllll, encore, and I hope to hear from you soon!!

love always,
-soeur gardner-

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012 - Pau, France



So the subject of my email is the hymn "carry on, carry on, carry on!". Yesterday at church for relief society, we sang this for the opening cantique (hymn). Soeur Bertolio said "I loooove this hymn!" and we began singing. unfortunately it's one of those songs where two of the parts sound the exact same but in reality one part goes up high and the other one is the same note as before. So the first part just stays the same note, so we're singing, and poor soeur bertolio sang super loud the high part, instead. right when she realized she stopped singing! It was soooooo funny. She was super embarrassed and we laughed so hard. And there's no piano, so it was obvious. luckily the second verse she remembered but some others didnt and did the same thing that she did. hahaha. Oh man. I'm terrible. and still laughing. Good times. And I saw a guy with a shirt on that said "night bird". I finally realized after staring at it that I think it was meant to say "night owl". oh french people! so great. makes for a good time.

SO! This week has been great!! We went to bordeaux for zone meeting, where the zone leaders just have a big meeting with the missionaries in the zone (like a big district meeting). And it was great! we just went over what we have been doing since president roney became president, and talked about how important those things are and one of our zl's, elder arnold, said, "if we're not willing to change, we can't expect others to do it" and this is so true! and likewise, we cant expect others to follow our counsel and be obedient if we're not being obedient to our mission president or whoever else is our leader! And how we NEED to apply the things that we are taught, otherwise we're just casting our net the same side as before (they referenced Jeffrey R Holland's talk-so great!!!). then at the end of everything and we were about to close, our other zl, elder cushing, wrote on the board, "what will you do with this?" because we had talked about always going over our notes and trying to think of new ways to apply it. so great. Life is so great. missionary work is so hard but so great!! After we had our zone mtg, we had lunch, then soeur bertolio and I had 4 hours before our train, so we got permission to visit this woman, soeur posadas, in Lormont, kind of a suburb of bordeaux, where soeur bertolio served for 4 transfers.(before she came to pau). so we visited her and she was super nice and called herself our "french granny". lol. so our train went to Toulouse for exchanges!! and I got to stay in Toulouse this time!!!! It was sooo different! Crazy different. We are in a smallll ville for soeurs, I think. It's kind of difficult to find a new area to contact and whatnot because there's just centre ville and then homes and apts! so I was doing exchanges with soeur taylor and it was awesome! everywhere we went, new people! toulouse is a large city, so it was really fun. we contacted this one girl, si si, who is a student at the university in toulouse and she was SO RECEPTIVE to what we taught her!! It was incredible! she was our miracle for the day. we contacted her on a big beautiful bridge and it began being super windy so we began walking and talking with her and she just listened intently and asked good questions! then she led us to a bench near the river and we just taught her! it was so cool! we basically taught her lesson 1. soeur taylor was teaching how we had the priesthood taken off the earth during the apostasy and she didnt understand, so I used the object lesson with the pens (Frère LePretre!!), with the pens signifying the priesthood and the hands to follow being God and the hands trying to follow being the people. she was like, OH! and totally understood! and I used these cards that I made with a short-short-condensed version of the first 3 lessons (frère lepretre!) with the bible references to the apostasy and to the restoration. it was so cool to have those scriptures just ready! holy moley! I'm so glad I learned to have that with me! (Thanks, Frère lepretre! :)) and she would begin to ask something but then say to herself, "no that doesnt apply.." It was incredible being able to give her all the answers! but once we got to the book of Mormon and introduced it and asked her to read, we had to go. it was like a 45 min lesson. and we prayed with her and she gave us her number and took the Book and accepted to read it and I really hope that the Toulouse soeurs get to continue teaching her! she was flipping through it and reading parts, really interested. And we read with her john 10:16 and 3 Nephi 15:21, "ye are the other sheep" scriptures. I love those. the Bible and the Book of Mormon work together SO MUCH, it's insane. If you know the Bible and you've read the Book of Mormon, you can't deny the Book of Mormon being the word of God, and if you know that, you know that Joseph Smith, Jr. was a prophet, and that he restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ again on the earth, and that we have a prophet on the earth today, and that we can do all the things that were able to be done in the times of the Bible! And that angels are coming to visit the earth! Oh man, the Spirit of God! That song!!!!!!!! LOVE!

Saturday we had a missionary activity that we have been trying to have since the fourth of July! seriously! but everyone was out of town for holidays, so we didnt have it until this last weekend. we were so worried that it wouldnt work out, but SO many people came and participated!! okay, so first off, we had the youth do a skit and we actually set up a stage-like area. it was pretty legit, not gonna lie. ha. but yeah, so we had this skit, where angela, the "member" is talking to her "nonmember" friends about the weekend, and her friends invite her to do something sunday morning but shes like, no, I got this thing, which is church but she doesnt want to tell them...and they're like, ? then she goes to church and a "returned missionary" (actually played by angelas little brother, anthony. lol) quotes henry b eyring, saying, "one day everyone you know will know what you know, and they'll know that you knew it", then she goes to bed that night and that quote is going through her mind, then she dreams that she's in the spirit world after death, and she sees all these people (in white) and is like, "noah! michael jackson!" lol, then she sees one of her friends who she had been talking to, and she's like, oh my gosh! this is crazy! its the spirit world! and her friends like, what is that? and angela is all, it's what happens after we die! in the plan of salvation! and her friend is like, you knew this? why didnt you tell me? and then she wakes up late for school, sees her friends, tells them she was at church and that she's a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and invites them to church. one doesnt accept but it like, its cool, and then the other one is ilke, sure, why not? then angela later takes out that quote from her backpack and reads it, and voila! the end. after the theatre we had a recent convert, frere abadie, speak about the importance of missionary work, then we had a practice with your friend how to share the gospel with them, then we had frere Barbaroux bear his testimony (his sister brought him to the gospel) and then the couple missionaries in our district were there and performed a musical number. then we prayed and ate good food that everyone brought! and it was a LOT of food! we were so impressed!!!!!!! AND at the end of it all, EVERYONE stayed and cleaned up and set up for church the next day without any of us asking! it was INCREDIBLE! wow!!!! we were so impressed. and everyone asked to give us a ride home. it was so great. I love our ward. they are hard to get to like you, but when they like you, they love you. many members told us this, that this ward is super picky with their missionaries, but that they love us. I'm so grateful for them and for their desire to help us. Thank you all for your prayers, and continue praying for our mission as a whole for success!

commitment; read alma 5. Probably my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon. and it was mentioned a million times in general conference! (not the scripture reference, usually, just lines from it).
I love you all so much, and dont send any letters this week because we have transfers on MONDAY! will I stay or will I go? Will soeur bertolio stay or will she go??? It's all greek to me! ha. I'm a loser. I'll miss soeur b sooooo much. we've already been together for 3 transfers and she's my TRAINER(mom!)! that doesnt happen often. I wont leave the nest, apparently. haha. Maybe this next week?
I LOVE you!!!!
soeur gardner

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012 - Pau, France

la Vie en Rose


Okay. lets just say, that general conference was the best thing ever. holy moley, I dont know if it was the spirit being so much stronger since I'm a missionary or what, but...wowwwewwow!!! i am trying to view life differently now, kind of like, la vie en rose..(life in pink), but not in the "in love" way. haha. Saturday morning session and President Holland's talk during the sunday morning session were my favorite. WOWWWWWWWWWW!!!! I seriously have a different perspective on things now. We still havent seen Sunday evening session; it was broadcasted between 10 and 12 last NIGHT, so we didnt get to watch it. But soon!!! Right now i'm in Bayonne!!! YEAH!! Haha, and our dl told us last week to wear pants since the district would all be together and we dont want to cause attention when we're not working, so we wear pants, but he told the elders in tarbes to wear suits, so..we were on the train together wearing different things. it was kind of funny and we feel kind of dumb. lol. mais c'est la vie. 

so this week we taught marie with jeffrey and it was great!!! she agreed to come to conference sunday at 2 (sat evening session), but she called us before and told us her son is sick so she had to stay and take care of him. :( darn you, satan! But we understand being sick; wed night soeur bertolio got the stomach flu, or something like it. while we were at the Leang's for dinner with ariel, jeffrey, and a nonmember who is in our english class, François, she began getting super sick and actually threw up in their bathroom! poor soeur. :( but she was super quiet!!!I was impressed. we only heard her gag once!!! then we got home, she threw up again, then we went to sleep. the next morning, I threw up all I ate the night before. eghh. It was terrible. We ended up being sick for 2 days. we didnt eat anything for almost 2 days. I barely drank water, but forced myself to drink some because I had dad's voice in my head telling me if I didnt , that I would get dehydrated and die. lol. so it was sad because we were starting off the week really good, and had to cancel rendez-vous, but we seriously couldnt teach. we had NO energy, even after we ate a little bit. So we were in bed for about 2 1/2 days. the second day we couldnt focus on anything and had no energy, so we watched the testaments and legacy. lol. to be honest, it was probably the most fun I've had being sick,  being sick with soeur bertolio, because we would start talking and like joke about our situation, then fall asleep, then wake up and say something or tell our weird dream, then fall asleep again. lol. it was not great being sick, but it was better then being sick alone. plus she wouldnt have been able to do anything without me anyway. Friday we were suppose to have exchanges with the Toulouse Soeurs, but we were super sick so we are having it next week. and it was funny because we told the people we needed to that we were sick, then we got a call from tarbes and a text from our zone leader, elder arnold telling us that bordeaux hopes that we get well soon! I told him that we just got ourselves sick from being so excited for zone conference this wednesday. haha. but yeah, we were like, how..did they was weird. but cool. everyone knows everyones bu'ness in the mish, apparently. lol. 

SO! General Conference! 19!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When President Monson announced the age changes, I seriously started crying I was so excited. Obviously I'm 21 and on the mission, but I think about Audrey (hermana white!) and Claire (sorella bradford!!!) and Elizabeth (irma tingey!!!) and how I met all of them at 18 and we were so set on going on missions and wishing the age were 19 and just wishing, and now after everything we are serving, and now it's possible for girls doing the same thing as my friends and I!! Wow! What a beautiful blessing!!! An how much we need missionaries!!! There are going to be barely any young people at BYU! holy cow!!!!!!  So many girls given the chance to serve before marriage and before other things get in the way!! wow!!!!!!! oh my goodness. the church is so true!!!! My favorite talks were President Uchtdorf's, basically another version of pres Monson's "Finding Joy in the journey", which is one of my FAVORITE talks!!! Oh my goodness!!!!!!! SOOO GOOOD!! My favorite things that he said was, "Strengthen things that we will have in Heaven", "we must not just do what Heavenly Father wants us to do, but BECOME what Heavenly Father wants us to be!", "Become the person that we were designed to be" and "through this, Heavenly Father will unleash the Spiritual Gifts we were promised", "essential things are invisible to the eyes" (quote from "the little prince", a french book!), "It's not a race, it's a journey! Enjoy the moment!" (his wife!), and "the Savior can wipe away our tears of regret". How incredibly true. AND my other favorite, President Holland's, when He's asking Peter, "Do ye love me?" and when he said that at the judgement bar, God will ask us, "Did ye love me? Did ye at least understand the first and most important commandment?" and he said, "I need someone who will preach My Gospel and defend My faith and do what needs to be done!" What a powerful statement. He wasnt just implying God talking to missionaries, he was talking to everyone, every member of our church. "We cant quit and we cant go back". This talk has i think affected the rest of my life. I took a very large humility pill last night, telling soeur bertolio all my feelings, which I guess she's here for, as my companion; It was crazy. I'm not going to go into detail of everything, but I was really in a recognition of how different i need to be, how much work I have to do, to become like Jesus Christ and be the person that I was designed to be. I was just struck with this, and how after this mission, my mission isnt stopping. I have to keep working, keep pushing forward, and this overwhelmed me for a second, but soeur bertolio is a great person to talk to and I thought of my last email, and the story of Jesus healing the little boy and I reminded myself, if I really try, He will meet me where I fall short. He'll carry me the rest of the way. 

What an incredible thing, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to study His gospel every day and preach it to everyone I come into contact with. What an incredible opportunity to repent of our sins and be forgiven for our weaknesses. "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above." These lyrics. And the lyrics to "Savior, Redeemer, of my Soul" is the way that I feel we need to feel always. We need to always be striving, always working to have the Spirit with us, to keep our thoughts pure, to be looking for the best in everyone. I love this Gospel and  I know that it is true. I cant quit, and I cant go back, because I know that this Gospel is true, and it makes me the happiest I have ever been. I pray that we all find things in our life that arent completely in line with the will of our Heavenly Father and change it. Nothing happens if you dont change. I'm making that commitment to myself, and I invite you to do the same.

I love you all and you need to listen to conference and study the words of the prophet and his apostles and the sisters in the church! Their words are inspired and will build you up in the times that are hard, times that you dont feel worthy or strong enough to push forward. 

I'll talk to yall next week! I loooove letters!

Love always,
-soeur gardner-