Bonjour, ma famille!!
How art thou? Oh man, so I have quoted "oh brother, where art thou?" like 5 times since being here, and NO ONE knows what I'm talking about!!!!! It's the worst!!!!!!!! Because they're good quotes!!!!!!! Oh goodness. Someone will be like, "Oh, well, I wrote it in the letter" and I'd be like, "Well I ain't got no letter/radio" in that accent and they'll just look at me weird. It kind of sucks. My old district leader, Elder Call (it switched just this week to his companion, Elder Gruber. They switch it halfway through the time spent in the mtc; I don't know why. He was the best district leader ever!! Sooo sweet and just wanting to make others happy. Sooo hilarious. Pretty dang naive, too, but not too much I guess.) Always knows what I'm quoting, but alas, he's never seen the movie. Which is weird cause he would really like it. So even my movie-quoting friend here doesn't know it. Dissapointing. But we DO quote Madagascar and Madagascar 2 together! So hilarous. He is one crazzzzzzzzy amazing piano player. Like you give him a few notes and he'll create a song. Or you give him a tune and a minute and he'll recreate the song you were humming. Ex: Lord of the Rings. Uh-may-zzzzing. Sundays after dinner we all as a district go to a room and have music time. The best time to chill and have fun.
So! We went to San Fran. It was pretty exciting, waking up at 4:15 to be at the travel office at 5 and at the airport at 6:30 with a flight that left initially at 8:30 but got pushed back to 10. And I was the group leader, of the 6 elders, and my comp. Lame. So I was given this packet that had a piece of paper rubberbanded to the front. It was the funniest thing (it may have also been so funny because I was tired), because the paper seriously resembled stuff you see on the movies for secret agents and stuff. Example: the paper said:
"Sister Gardner, In the packet you will find passports, visa information, a cell phone....etc etc....When you arrive at the airport, call 2034029332. Ask for the blahblahblah and tell them we are the private group. The name of the group is Mormon Travel."
It was just super sketch sounding and I was laughing so hard reading it. The end it even said "Good Luck". Hahahaha. Still makes me smile.
So the elders started out by being really smart at the airport and, for breakfast, mind you, got huge Cafe Rio burritos covered in hot sauce. Yeah. I got a tortilla and some chips and salsa to share with my collegue (what we call our companions in french. Best not to call them our "companions"..I think you understand why) and we didn't even finish it. In fact, I gave the rest of the bag of chips, which was a lot, to this random guy at the food court and took the rest of the tortilla with me for a snack on the plane. A few of the elders couldn't keep in their breakfast and had to go to the bathroom for quite a while. There was me, Soeur Harris, Elder Gruber and Elder Hilburn (both in my district), Elder Truman (from St George and super cocky but kind of funny..I can't decide), Elder Harris, Elder Johnson, and another Elder that I can't remember his name. I'm terrible. Anyway, these other Elders were from a district that's only guys and by the end of the longest day ever we were verrrrrrry glad we had our Elders. They're just such good Elders!!! All of them are going to Lyon except E. Nomaaea and E. Davis. Umm...anyway, so we watch their stuff for over an hour while they walked around the Salt Lake Airport. I honestly have no idea what would be fun about that, but whatev. When we got to San Fran I called the travel people, we got a van, we went to the french whatever even though we knew it would be closed for their lunch break but did it anyway because the lady in Provo told me to after I told her it would be closed, went to lunch with Elder Hilburn's parents (his parents were already in San Fran for their anniversary) and they were so nice and paid for all of us!! geez, right? cray crayy. ;-) Anyway, so then we went back, got photos and fingerprinted, then we talked to the security guards while we were waiting for the others. I asked them if they went to church, and one of them was muslim and very religious (he was from Sudan I think. He looked kind of like Jafar from Aladdin but with the genie body. lol. No I was not attracted to him, I just thought that would be the best way to describe him) and the other didn't really go to church (he was born in Guatemala but raised in the states). I got this super overwhelming feeling that we needed to talk to the second guy about the church, so after trying to get the elders to talk to him about the gospel (they were just having casual convo without inviting him or testifying or anything!! I was a little annoyed), I got up and went over to where he was standing and began asking him what he wanted to know, and then gave him a brief explanation of our religion, that we believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and that we believe that it goes along with the Bible, that we believe in Jesus Christ and that he is a huge part of our religion and other stuff, then I bore my testimony and promised him that if he looked into the church and prayed (we gave him a pass along card) he would recieve blessings and he could be with his family forever and that he would recieve an answer to his prayer. He looked sooooo interested!!!!!!!!!! He was like, "wow, yeah I will look into it! I'm really interested in learning more" GOLDEN! So he I went and sat back down for a bit, then we left and when we were walking out the second man was shaking our hands as we left, saying thank you, and when he got to me he took both of my hands in his and said, "Really. Thank you." and I just smiled and it was crazy and oh mannnnnn the church is true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He had the light of Christ in his eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really hope and pray that he looks into the church because it really will bless him soooo much!! I wish I could have taught him the lessons and made him that much happier and I can't wait to do that in less than a month in France!!
Oh man. So..last Wednesday was our half-way mark and sunday we had a little party with some of the people from the zone with some brownies Sis Hurrell's mom ordered for her earlier in the week. I am getting to the point where I feel like I'm plateauing and so I'm trying to push myself even harder!!!!! It's so important! AHHH! I only have 4 (?) weeks left to learn this stuff and have it down before teaching and speaking only in the language! AHHH!! So I'm trying, along with the district, to speak french a LOT more then we have been (we are the best in the zone; no lie. so we're trying to keep improving instead of slowing down). I'm getting alright in it; it's so exciting looking back a month ago and seeing how much more I can speak!! The gift of tongues is real. It's sooooooo freaking real. Ha, Elder Nomaaea is rubbing off on me; he says freaking all the time! Like..way more than I have ever said that. Luckily you can't really say freaking in french. Ha
I love my Elders so much. They're just an amazing group of Elders and they make me so happy. I know that Heavenly Father put us all together for a reason, so we can bless and strengthen one another and I can truly testify that they bless and strengthen me! So a few weeks ago I got an eye infection, and after a day or two it went away, then I got it again a week later but in the other eye (it didn't itch, it kind of hurt a little when I put pressure on the lid near the tear duct, dad), and I had gone in to the health center and they gave me some eye drops that I don't have the name of on me(sorry, dad), but I used it as often as I was suppose to and wearing my glasses which was super annoying because they're crazy thick, and it wasn't getting much better, so Sunday I had Elder Call and Elder Gruber give me a blessing. It was so cute because I asked Elder Gruber if he and Elder Call could do that and he was like, yeah, yeah, okay that would be great, then they went into a room for like 20-30 min and I guess planned what they were going to do or something; I have no idea. But they finally came out and asked if I was ready and I was like, are you ready?? And so Elder Gruber blessed the oil and Elder Call gave me the blessing and it was just so touching how much they cared about doing it perfectly (it was the first healing blessing Elder Call has given) and I think it helped all of us, not just me.
So by that night my eye was doing much better, and by the next day it was gone! Gone!!!! G-O-N-E!!
I know that the Holy Ghost is real and that the Priesthood has been restored on the Earth again. I never recognized how important the Priesthood was until this last week, like I knew what it was and what it could do, but not really. The Priesthood connects us to our Heavenly Father. Without the priesthood, we couldn't baptize, we couldn't recieve blessings, we couldn't do anything. The Temple would cease to be a Temple of God. I know that Heavenly Father hears everyone's prayers, no matter where they are, physically or spiritually. I know that He loves us and knows us individually. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He knows how He can bless us, even if it's from a trial. Trials can help us build our faith if we choose to rely on Him. That's what I Iearned this week with my eye being all crazy. I realized that I wasn't being as sensitive to what I was asking for in my prayers and I really had to humble myself and give all that I had to Him. I gave two of the best Elders in the MTC the opportunity to strengthen me and themselves through my own trial.
I love this gospel and I am so proud to call myself a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
J'aime l'Evangile retabli et je suis tres heureux pour moi etre(wrong) un missionare de l'Eglise de Jesus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours!!
I'm sorry I dont have much time to finish this, but I plan on writing everyone back who wrote me!! Thanks for the letters, everyone!
Shelb- I got yours! wooo!!!
Mom-what is the Jones' address? I sent them a letter and it came back to me!
I love you all and I hope that you will remember that our Heavenly Father loves you soooo much.
- Sœur Gardner