Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 25, 2012 - Pau, France

     Oh my goshhhh this keyboard is throwing me off so much. For ex: § µ £  Yeah. Bizarre. Anyway, yeah! France! I have been so jet lagged since the flight, but its all good. My trainer is awesome!! She is from very southern Suisse (Switzerland), like 10 min from Italy, and she grew up speaking Italian but has been learning French since she was 8. She speaks super fast French!!! Not to me usually cause I would have no idea what she's saying, but when we are contacting, I ask the first question then she goes, because I can't keep up. haha. It has an Italian touch to it, so she is worried my French will sound Italian since she has been helping me. haha. When we first met she was like, my English isn't very good, and I was like, well my French isn't good! haha.
Let me pull myself together and start from the beginning. Okay. The first two days were seriously a blur. We had two connecting flights and I barely got any sleep, then when we landed, we were met by the APs and the mission pres and his wife (they're both very nice people. I think Sis Murdoch looks like Debbie Reynolds!). After they met us all, we literally ran to the train with all of our luggage, got on the train, had other Elders take our things then walk to the new mission office that doesn't have air conditioning yet. btw its pretty humid in southern France: about Fort Worth humid, I would say. Okay; this is about to get very sloppy typing. This keyboard is slowing me down like CRAZY so I'm about to look like I don't speak English or can't type or whatever so here we go...
     so ze get to the mission office; we are told what ze qre suppose to be doing zith our time qnd zhqtnot; and we are all literally falling asleep as the mission pres and the APs are talking to us. Frere Wilcox and Frere LePretre, Elder Gruber and elder call were in and out the entire time and it was soooo hard not to laugh!! especially when we basically didnt sleep the night before. anyway, they take us to dinner, then let us go to the hotel to sleep at about 9:30. the next morning we met our companions! I am really happy that I got the companion that I got; soeur bornieoteello. HA Im the worst person ever! i dont remember her name!! oooh man. thats embarrassing. 
     Yes, we are serving in Pau (pronounced poe). It's beautiful!! I really like it here. Lyon was kind of trashy; literally. But then again, we were mainly on the metro and near the mission office. So me, my comp that I forgot the name of, Elder Gruber and his new comp and I took a train to Bordeaux. J`aime Bordeaux!! It is sooo beautiful!! So we stayed there for a night with some other sisters who were very nice! And we met the Zone Leaders! They took Elder Gruber and his comp to stay with them. Bordeaux, to me, was like a smaller Paris because everything was so beautiful! The architecture, the bridges, etc. I would love to serve there. 
     So the train from Lyon to Bordeaux was almost 6 hours, then the train from Bordeaux to Pau was around two and a half; I slept most of the way. 
     We have a nice apartment!! and we have a pool!!... haha.
     So in the past week I have come to the conclusion that French people are not rude, contrary to popular belief: they're just reserved. I have been rejected by them plenty of times since I've been here, but 98% of the time they were very nice about it. You just have to ask them questions and they warm up to you very easily! 
     Story time. So we were contacting for my first time in Lyon, and I walked up to a woman who was sitting down and said, Bonjour! Comment çava? and put out my hand. Bad idea. She looked at me, at my hand, then back at me, replied, and ignored my hand. Awkward. lol. Frere LePretre, I dont remember if you taught us not to shake hands, but if you did, I did not remember. haha. Second embarrassing contact: yesterday I walked up to a man on the street and said hello and asked him what makes him smile and he was like, euh? and I repeated it and he looked at my nametag, stuck his hand in my face as he walked away saying, uh uh!! non! non! I got the hand. And the first time I went contacting a guy wagged his finger at us, just like you would do, Frere LePretre! So I just laughed. What else can you do?
     When we were doing port à port, a guy told us to come back in case his dad was interested, so yesterday after church we went back to the house and the guy wasn't interested, so my colleague was like, man we came all the way back (30 min by bus) for nothing. And me being the new missionary I am was like, let's do more port à port! We haven't done this side yet! (Certain side of the street). So we did and we found this family that has 7 kids in it and they told us to come back because their parents weren't there. But they were really nice and seemed interested! There was this cute little girl who ran to the gate when we rang and she only had her underwear on cause she must have been playing in the water, then her older brother came out who looked maybe 16 or 17 and we told them we had a message about families and how we cqn be zith them forever and it was really cool!!!! I don't know if anything will happen, but we are praying that something will!!
     Yesterday evening a family invited us for dinner and the husband is American and the wife is from Alberta! I love them! They're such a nice family and they made me feel a lot better about everything because they speak English and I felt at home. They have 4 kids who are adorable and they live out in the country. Such a cute home. Court, you would have died. I'll send you photos next time. I forgot the cord that connects my camera to the comp.
     I love you all and email me! Friends can email also! But letters only take six to nine days to get here, so that works also. And I only get an hour to email.
     The church is true! The members here are so nice and the new converts also! They've been so helpful to me. Two new converts, Jeffrey and Vincent (pronounced van sont, I thought my comp was saying 600 in French for like 5 min. lol), was helping me practice contacting while we waited for someone. Being a missionary is hard; really hard. But there are so many benefits to it!!! I'm already loving the people of Pau and I have only been here, what, five days?

love always,
(Sœur Gardner)

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 21, 2012 - Lyon, France

The following is an email from the France Lyon Mission Office upon Devan's arrival to the mission.

Dear Gardner Family,

Here are the pictures of your daughter extraordinaire.  I have included three pictures, one with her trainer, one with President and Sister Murdock and then with just the missionary.  Isn’t she wonderful?  

Her trainer is Sister Bertolio, and the address is:

La Mission Française de Lyon
Les Missionnaires:  Soeur Gardner
Le Clos des Camelias
1, Bis Bernard de Clairvaux #102
F-64000   PAU

We are so pleased to have her serving with us and hope she can recover quickly from the strain of the last few days.

Thank you, Soeur Jeppson

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 12, 2012 - MTC

Bonjour, ma famille!!
     Comment çava? How is everyone? Angie must have had her baby by now. I have no idea when Ant wrote me the DearElder saying that Angie was in the hospital waiting to go into labor. We don't get DearElders on Saturdays or Sundays. Lame. Soo...she must have had her baby sometime between Friday and Monday. That's all I know. And I havent seen any pictures..nothing. Just saying. That's kind of lame.
     Mom, I haven't heard from you in 6 days?..
     This reminds me of something. My friend, Elder Kunzler, who I knew before the mission, hasn't gotten a letter from his family since he's been here! What?!!! I thought that was super sad, so I made him this little note thing on the other side of this treasure chest with gold and diamonds and stuff that I had made for an object lesson earlier that day. It's not too big, but yeah, so I wrote on it and was just was like, "Hey, Elder Kunzler! How's the MTC? I hope you like this treasure! A pirate gave it to me..*blahblahblah* -Sis Gardner"  You get the jist. Anyway. I gave it to his district leader after I made a fake stamp and "addressed" it to him so he'd be getting something during mail time at the end of the day. He really liked it; I saw him earlier today and he said thanks. :) Nice elder. I don't know why he wouldn't be getting letters. So sad. Quoi d'autre? Hmm...so we got our travel plans on Friday and contrary to popular belief, I am super sad. I'm happy to be leaving the MTC but so sad to leave my friends and teachers who basically are my older friends. lol. Today we went to the temple for the LAST TIME until I come home from my mission. WHAT?! I may or may not have had a cry time after the session. sadsadsad. Man, it made me really glad that I've been going every week (minus the week I came in to the MTC) since I've been endowed. It's so incredible going to the temple I LOVE IT and now I'm soo sad I'm not allowed to go cause there's no temple in my mission. There's a temple in Bern, Switzerland, but that's the Alpine-German Speaking Mission. Lame. Anyway! LYON! I got my new mission home and office address!! I don't really know where you're suppose to send the mail..so I'll just give you both so you can figure that one out.
Mission home address:
8 Impasse des Hautes Bruyeres
61930 Ecully
Mission Office address:
59 Rue de l'Abondance
69003 Lyon
     I am completely freaked about going to France and trying to speak/understand the language. Like you don't even know. I know that I've learned sooo much more than I have ever known about French and am alright with reading it and asking basic questions and making basic sentences, but really? I'm being thrown into a modern war with a bow and arrow (not an intended racist joke. lol). I know I can do it, I also know that I will struggle. So any letters of encouragement would make me very, very happy. more happy than you could ever imagine. Oh man. So! Flight plans! Here we goooooooooo!!! (nsync?) (and yes, Court, references to movies is great! Don't feel bad. I don't. lol)
      Flight plan(shelby): British Airways (all flights are British Airways for me) 

#1- Leave- SLC, 11:05am June 18
     Land - Chicago, 3:05pm
#2- Leave- Chicago, 5:15pm
     Land - London,  6:55am June 19
#3- Leave- London, 8:40am
     Land - Lyon, 11:15am
     So that's my flight plan. I hope that you all are ready for me to call y'all during the breaks. Who should I call? Like which number? Telling me would be great, so I'm not calling everyone and no one is answering, which would be really sad. So Elder Call, Elder Gruber, and Sis Harris are the only ones from my district that we're flying with! Elder Hilburn and Elder Smith are also going the Lyon Mission, but they're being sent to Switzerland! ?!?! Weird. And they're not leaving until Tuesday. :((((( So we're definitely sad about that. And the Parisians are leaving on Monday also but not until 4pm. My heart hurts. But it's fine; this is what I came for, to go out into the field and serve. I was lucky to meet so many great Elders and Sisters. I'll definitely be seeing them again; we're already planning on it. All the missionaries in my district are from the west coast, so that makes things easy! What doesn't make things easy is Sis Grewar and Sis Hurrell being from Australia. What the what?? But hey, I've always wanted to go down under! haha. But really. Anyway. We'll talk about that in 18 months, dad. ;-) So basically I've just been trying to study and pack stuff..it's weird. What am I saying? I haven't packed anything yet. haha. But I will be starting today! Not that I have that much. I'm sending some things home, also! Expect a package in a week or two.
     On Sunday, Sis Harris, Elder Kunzler, and his companion Elder Wilson sang "A Child's Prayer" en francais, which is "La Prier de l'Enfant". Je pense. Anywho, it went really well and It was cool to sing en francais and know what we were singing. I cried like 3 times on Sunday. It was ridiculous. I think it started with us singing because it was super cool and spiritual. And Sis Grewar is a convert and gave her conversion story in Relief Society, and the speaker spoke about "whom the Lord calls, He has chosen" and about our missions waiting for us and "your calling is to bless lives" and it was crazy. Then! For the fireside Bro Stephen B. Allen spoke to us about being nice to our companions and that they're children of God, then was talking about our parents and how our moms are "having terrible emotional problems!!!" with us gone and our dads are just happy we're gone, which made me tear up because I know that dad isn't happy I'm gone at all! Except for the fact that he's saving money. haha. So that made me tear up a lot. Then we watched "The Testaments", and I always cry at the end when Jesus Christ touches the father's hands and the father begins crying and he's healed and it's awesome. Oh dang.
     So all of this was so great for me, because on Sunday I called out a few districts in the branch presidency meeting. Yeah. Not the best way to make friends.
     I didn't specifically say any district, so I technically didn't call them out, I just told the Branch presidency (when they asked me) that the Sisters were really bothered with some districts breaking the rules and giving letters out before 9:25pm and getting on the internet when it's not preparation day or on their emails during TALL time. It was kind of intense afterward, because there were specific Elders who weren't following the rules and it wasn't cool that they were doing that as Elders who are given the responsibility to be leaders. I said this. So then after we had our temple walk, this one Elder had some lame comment to hurt my feelings that he didn't directly say to me but for me to hear and I just ignored it, but Elder Asay (pronounced Ay-see and he's from Dallas!) was like, "Cut it out, Elder. That's enough" and the stupid Elder (not stupid, he's just super immature) was like, "What? I was joking! Je blague!!" and everyone ignored him. It was nice. I thanked Elder Asay later, then yesterday I was in the same line as one of the elders that was doing wrong that's a DL, and I put my hand out to him and was like, "I'm sorry if I offended you" and he was like, "What are you talking about?" Me: "You know what I'm talking about. I'm sorry if you were offended by what I said. I hope we're good," and he was like, "Yeah-yeah. We're good." "Good." The end.
     So the sisters were really nice about all of it and were supporting me the whole time, which was really nice. And my district! Oh I love them. They're such sweethearts.
     So dad, I went the doctor again because they wanted to check my foot one more time before I leave and I had the doctor write down what is wrong with it. Him: "Developed dependent edema. Has some recurrence of soft tissue swelling with dependency". I don't even know what that means, but I hope you do. haha. Write me and let me know what that means..because he doesn't explain things on my level. Also, please put some mula into my account. I need $200 for traveling, and euros are more than a dollar for 1. I..need my new card. My card expires THIS MONTH. So..I need the new one asap. Please send me the new one or let me know that I need to take out a lot of cash. I leave Monday morning, so you'll have to make it overnight or something.
     Mom, why you no write? I havent heard from you since the 6th when you were insinuating that you were sending me a package that I haven't recieved. ?
     Court- I loved your letterssssss. I'm writing you today!!!
     Ant & Angie- YOU'VE HAD A  BABY!! CONGRATS!!!!
     Ben-thanks for the quick email and the postcard!! I LOVE the postcard!!!! Have you seen the animated movie? It's beautiful. Such amazing illustration.
     Shelb- lets here about EFY, foo'!
     Alrighty, I am sooo over the limit. I'm sending you some photos that Frere LePretre sent us that we took yesterday. So funny. Frere Wilcox is the blonde on the left side of the photo for the most part, and Frere LePretre is wearing the suit.
     The church is true!!!!!!! I am seriously so glad I have a strong testimony because I would neverrrrrrrrr do this if I didn't. I'm going to be taking it one day at a time. Frere LePretre said take it 24 hours, l don't think about the rest of the time, just finish the day.
     I love you all, and I would love to hear from you!!

Love always,
devano (soeur Gardner)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 5, 2012 - MTC


     So not much has happened this week. We are now less than two weeks before I leave, so..yeah! Uhh..yep..
     Soooooooooooo.. This week we just taught lessons and got new missionaries. We have 45 new missionaries in our zone! HOLY MOLEY! It's a lot. there are 6 new sisters, who are all roommates also, like my roommates and I. 3 are going to Paris, one Lyon, one Montreal, and one Tahiti. C'est interessant, n'est pas? Sis Hurrell helped me make flags for the girls with their names on them for the door to their room. We helped host and we had all the sisters know that if they got a French Sister, to give her to us. Haha. So we met them and they're all really nice. One is from the same place as Will in Vegas! I was like, oh, do you know Garrett Allen? And she said she went to high school with him! She's cool. I think her name is Sis Horn. I'm not the best with names, obviously. I've had multiple conversations with her, too! Oh well. I also have in the zone now...Elder Foote! He is the younger brother of my friend, Jenny Foote. I met him and was like, your sister told me to take care of you, so here I am. Haha. I'm so awkward. I also now have in my district Elder Kunzler! I met him last fall in the Intro to Film class, so it's cool that I have a friend from "before the mission" here.
     Lets see..not much has happened since last week, other than the new people, to be honest. Frere LaPretre is afraid that we are going to plateau before we leave so we're all pushing ourselves super hard..yeah. We had a 40 min lesson last week in the TRC and it went really well. I'm starting to get the language a lot more. It's a-comin! (haha, *a hurricane's a-comin'!* name the movie) But yeah. We should be getting our travel plans Thursday, so I hear, and it will have our new mission home address, because once President Roney moves in the mission home is moving to Lyon. Surprise! I just figured that one out last week. Everyone write me and tell me how your lives are!! It's kind of sad when you don't get mail. Especially when random Elders are getting ridiculous packages and letters daily. What the what?! C'est fou.
     Yesterday we had "PVL" (parle votre langue, aka: speak your language)  ALL day. It was hard. It was just my district, so when we sat down for lunch Elder Kunzler and his comp sat by us and began talking to us en anglais because they don't know we're doing that and they don't know French really, and so I tried to speak to them in English and my district got mad at me. And would interrupt me en francais. It was annoying. So I was trying to talk to them in French but they didn't understand me well and it was just confusing.
     Uhh...oh, I went to the Health Center because of my foot. It was still puffy (dad I talked to you about it), so I went in. The doctor doesn't know what's up, so he told me to take ibuprofen (sp??), ice it when I can (which I haven't found a time to...) and to keep wrapping it at night and elevating it. I'm not sure if all of that it was he said or what I've learned from dad. So I haven't iced it, but I've been wrapping it and trying to elevate it whenever I can, and yesterday it was looking really good!! I also rubbed it a lot Sunday night, so I think that may have helped. But I went in to get an x-ray Thursday to make sure I didn't break anything. What hurts are my metatarsels, #2-5 on my left foot, specifically 3 and 4. They hurt the most. Maybe I bruised a bone?? I have no clue what I'm talking about so I was asked to come in again this week to get it checked on again. So that's what I'm doing at 2. It doesn't hurt really to walk on it, it just looks bad near the evening and hurts when you put pressure on it. Anyway! It's fine. Mom, don't worry about it. No biggie. Um..yeah! So..I don't really know what else to talk about right now, I'm trying to be more obedient and get off the computer by the 30 min mark because I've been going past it lately to talk about everything, but this time I won't. Obedience is key!
     I got a letter from Sis Tingey and Elder Holland!! That was pretty cool!
     Dad, thanks for your awesome letters. I love each one you send because I know you mean every word. I'll write you back today!
     Mom, thanks for the photo of grandpa and grandma! Unfortunately that's not really my whole family..so could you send me one? Thanks! I'll write you too.
     Court, you got my letter, I hope! If not, it should be at mom and dad's. Sorry, I didn't have your address on me and I wanted to send it asap so I just put that address because I remembered it.
     Ant, I can't wait to hear about all your ridiculous trips! Please fill me in. and I miss the weather reports.
     Shelb, I hope you had a great time at EFY!!!! Write me and tell me all about it. And about a boy... ;-)
     Benhamiin, did you get my letter and postcard? :)
     Angie, good luck with your pregnancy!! I'm assuming that you'll pop any day now. What a gross term..especially typing it out. Sorry. Haha
     And Nate, thanks for taking care of my sister and for yall's beautiful children. Send me a photo.
     I love you all and I hope that I hear from you soon. (EVERYONE, not just the fam. Don't want yall to feel excluded.)
     The church is soooooo true!! I love this gospel with all of my heart. I bore my testimony on Sunday and I was like, I'm taking advantage of being able to bear my testimony in English because this is the last time I'll be able to for at least 16 months! But yeah, I know that I've been helped soooo much by Him since I"ve gotten here. My testimony has like, tripled since I've gotten here. It's crazy. The church is soooo true. It's so important for us to have it. I don't know what I would be doing right now if it weren't for the church. Oh man. I love this Gospel.
I know that through this Gospel, we can all be cleansed and be clean. We can be happier than we have ever been. Yeah, in ways it's harder, but it is so worth it, just like being here is so worth it. I have the hardest time crawling out of bed when my alarm goes off, but I can and I do because I know that it's worth it. I can't wait to go to France and embarrass myself all over the mission because I know that with the Spirit by my side (and my companion!), I can accomplish anything.

Love you all,
-Sœur Gardner-