Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Email on April 24, 2012

The last post was a transcription of a handwritten letter we received yesterday. Today Devan got to write the family an email, which she has specifically asked to be posted to the blog. 

Bonjour, ma famille!
     Yes, I am alive. Barely. jk. Haha. It's not too bad here, but it's super difficult. We are studying like...all the time. And when we're not studying? Ha. We're always studying; that's non-existent. Anyway, things are going well here! My companion's name is Soeur Harris. She is from Portland and is in the Beaverton Ward. Her dad is bishop, so..was he y'all's bishop, Court, Nate and Asa? Umm..oh, post this on my blog, please, ant.
     So things are cRaZy HERE!!!! We are being taught to teach with the Spirit (as dad said in his last dearelder letter) (BTW I love getting letters, including dearelder.com ones. Better than nothing!!) and how to speak en francais. It's insane; I know how to bear my testimony already in french and almost pray completely without notes. I was called on yesterday in my district to give the spiritual thought before class, and I was like, oh okay! "En anglais?" and my teacher, Frère LaPretre (ant, say THAT in french! he says if you can say his name correctly you can learn to speak french. haha) was like, "Non! en francais!" and I was like, "Umm..que?" Haha. It was bad. But not. He told me I could do a scripture, so I did Alma 32:21 and then said that having faith was very important and that through having faith you can know that the church is true or something; I don't really remember because I said it so slowly. Haha. But yeah, then I bore my testimony that I know that the Book of Mormon is true and the gospel is true and I think I said that the prophet was the true prophet on the earth today. Yeah, I can say that en francais. Booyah!
     Not really; Heavenly Father is blessing me so much with this language. I can't even begin to tell you. I'm obviously struggling a lot with it, but I would barely be saying "I believe" en francais if it weren't for His help. It's crazy how being here you feel the Spirit everywhere. That's what they really try to tattoo into your brain; teaching with the Spirit can change lives, not your perfect french. Frère LaPretre is a convert; when he was 20 he said the missionaries came to him and the missionary who barely could speak french made the biggest influence on him because he taught with the Spirit and with his heart. I thought and think still that that is the coolest thing. Teaching with your heart really makes an impact on the people you teach. Knowing the french language will definitely help you out with everything, but if you are scared of not knowing anything when you go out, as long as you have the Spirit with you and you love the people you meet and teach, you'll make an impact on them.
     I love knowing the Gospel and I am so glad that I grew up in a home with the Spirit. Yeah, it wasn't perfect, but it was enough to influence me and help me to become the person that I am today and who I"m trying to become. This work is so difficult; I want to cry every afternoon (when I'm most tired) because I don't understand what my teachers are saying or I can't memorize something, but it all works out. You have to have faith that Heavenly Father will help you in all situations, and that's what I'm learning to do. I can't doubt myself; doubting comes from bad spirits. That won't help me and it won't make me feel good about myself. All I can do is KNOW that Heavenly Father will bless me for doing His work and that he will give me the gift of tongues. Please pray for me and for the gift of tongues; I need it. I am terrible at memorizing, which I'm sure y'all know, so I am trying so hardddd to memorize and memorize quickly, which almost feels like it's not enough, but I know that with the Spirit and with my hard work anything is possible as long as I have faith.
     Ahhh things are insane here! I live with 5 other girls in the residence halls and they're all great. 2 are from Australia and 1 is from Guatamala. She is learning french and english! Poor girl. The girl who sleeps on the top bunk of my bunk is Soeur Roney; yes, my mission president's daughter. Crazy, right? She's going to the Paris Mission! She's really nice and she says that her dad is really silly and wants his missionaries to have fun and laugh and be real people..which I'm excited for. Haha. I'm trying to keep the personality I have in my french; right now it's really difficult but it's slowly coming. I only have 30 min to be on the internet to email, so send me dearelders the day before (my p-day is Tuesday!)  and I'll try to respond to y'all's letters in the email and handwritten letters. Oh, I sent my address to the family. I hope y'all have gotten it. Post it on the blog and facebook? Thanks!
     By the way, mom, I did see Elder Holland! I've seen him probably five times. He says thanks for the package and that he was really confused when he first got it because it was from us but had stuff from home in it. Lol. He has meals an hour before me, so I don't usually see him at that time. Ahhhh five minutes!! Umm...Well if you guys find any cute flats, please send me some. My feet. Blah. Everyone is wearing cute flats here, well, almost everyone. It's weird. Not very practical for being out in the field, but practical for the MTC. But I have everything else I could think of...oh! Dry mangos! Who knew they were so good?! If you would like to send me some..that would be alright. ;-)
     So my companion is really fun, kind of quiet, and it took a while to get her out of her shell. She does speak french; she took the RM BYU class for a few days but got out of it because it was too much work and she wasn't majoring in it. She graduated last August from BYU and lived in Seattle working for a nonprofit organization. Yeah, one of those girls. ;-) jk, she's nice, kind of quiet at times, but I think she's getting use to me. Lol.
     Anyway, I love you all. I hope that this makes you feel good that I"m doing well. The food is not the best, but I just stay away from sauces and strange meat. Haha. Salads galor, basically.
     Please let everyone know that I"m doing great, and tell them to write me! I love letters. The guys in my district are really nice, btw. Elder Call is our district leader and he has the most expressionistic face!! It's hilarious. Anywho.

Love you guys. I want to see photos of the baby!!

Love from the empty sea (dad),

Soeur Gardner (devano)

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 20, 2012

Ma famille-

     Hey! I'm alive!! Haha. Yeah. So... When Mom & Dad left I went and got all of my things, saw my friend Alison Jones (now Sœur Jones), spent time with her last night when I was unpacking...she is right next door to me! Trés fou!
     My (one of) teacher is from Paris and served his mission in the Geneva Mission! Ha! Any who, my companion's name is Sœur Harris & she's from Portland in the Beaverton Ward! She's 23, just graduated from BYU in August, and knows a little French. More than me! She's really nice and cool, so I'm following her around everywhere. Lol. C'est amusant. I haven't really gotten French down yet...but I know more than I did when I got here! It feels like I've been here for at least a week and it's not even been 2 full days. Insane.
     We met our districts today and they're nice. Wait...zone? I don't know, it's so confusing!! Anyway, we had to all get up and bear our testimonies. That was cool.
     Tomorrow Sœur Harris et moi have to teach a discussion to an "investigator". In French. :-/ (<--- All of the missionaries) But I have faith that the language part will come as I'm willing to give up control and let the "Holy Spirit Guide". I love you ALL (especially le petit bébé Tyler! Give him a kiss for me & tell him about me all the time!) and the church is so true it's INSANE.

Love you with all my heart,
Devan Sœur Gardner

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Who's going on a mission to France/Switzerland? THIS GIRL.

Oh yeahhhhhhhhhhh! I leave April 18th and I couldn't be more thrilled!!! I'm going to have my family keep this up with my letters to let everyone hear about my adventures and missionary experience in the lovely France Lyon Mission. Wish me luck! :-D