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