Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

"Sunshine in the storm"

Considering P-day was on Wednesday last week, I really don't have much to say. This week has been a real test for Sister Tritt. She is learning lots and its been really hard for her. I'm grateful to be her companion to help her through her trials and give her hope for the future. :) 

This week I've gained a testimony of the power of the priesthood. I love it. I never want to be without it. I can't imagine living without it. This week I got sick (yes, again.) I don't understand my sickness exactly, but its very annoying. I haven't been able to eat for about a week because I feel nauseous all the time. So, it's been really unfortunate. But we had a dinner appointment one evening I wasn't sure I could make it through AND Sister Tritt really needed a blessing. So we called up some of our favorite elders and they drove to our apartment from Spokane Valley. (30 minute drive) We both got blessings reassuring us that all would be well. We had questions answered that the elders didn't even know we had. Every time I receive a priesthood blessing, I am so impressed with how well these righteous men can listen to the spirit and trust in the things they need to say. Being away from home and not having my dad around has made me realize how blessed I am to be around so many worthy priesthood holders who honor their promises with Heavenly Father. 

I'm so blessed to be companions with Baby T (Sis Tritt's nickname). She and I have been placed together for a reason. We both know we are going to go through a lot of hard things this transfer and we are ready to take on this adventure. We can't wait to see what lessons we can learn and how Heavenly Father is watching over us.

For the record. Be grateful for the sun. I haven't seen the sun in 2 weeks. I think we're depressed. haha.

In my blessing, I was told that I have been a light of sunshine to those around me and that even when things get gray that there is always sunshine if I look for it. I was promised that I would be fully healed. No questions asked. 

And congrats to Jeff and Carolyn!( Jeff and Carolyn are Jordan's uncle and aunt on the Esperson side of the family).   I'm so excited for the two of you to get sealed! I'm so proud of both of you and the choices you made to get there. I love you and I wish I could be there with you. Enjoy it and tell me all about it. :)

I love all of you. Enjoy the sunshine and the warmth. I miss summer.

All my love,

Sister Gardanier

The pictures below are from a "fiesta in a box" we mailed her marking her half way point on her mission. In our letter to her, we asked her if there are any beans and tortillas left.  She commented that she is "rationing" out the beans and tortillas so they will last longer... that makes me giggle!

                                               Tortillas from Carolina's!!
Homemade refried beans!! 

                                               It's fiesta time!!
                                I hope this isn't the newest investigator....  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

When you are companions with you best friend...

Let me tell you that Sister Tritt is my best friend. I love that girl to DEATH. She and I get along so well and we get stuff done. This past week has been super crazy though. We did a "swept" into an ELDER'S apartment. It was DISGUSTING. If any of you elders out there have a gross apartment, I'm going to be so sad. 

Monday we said goodbye to people in Liberty Lake. I was sad to go, but I was excited to be with Sister Tritt. :) I got a blessing from Brother Wilkinson before I left.  (the sister missionaries lived in the basement of the Wilkinson's home.  They have been fantastic to our little missionary...and I appreciate them soooo much!)  It was one of the greatest blessings I've received on my mission. It answered a ton of the questions I personally had and gave me hope for my new area.

Tuesday was INSANE. It was the worst day I've ever had on my mission. But looking back it was also SO funny. Sister Tritt and I arrived at our apartment and our apartment was LOCKED. The elders told us they were going to leave it open and it wasn't. And we didn't have a phone. So the members who drove us let us use their phones and call missionaries to find out where our key is any why our apartment was locked. We called 10 sets of missionaries with no luck. Finally we found out a member had Elder Padilla (one of the missionaries we swept out) with them and they were on their way and coming with the key to the apartment. We waited outside for an hour. Then they FINALLY showed up, Padilla picked up his stuff and left out the door. We were left with a DISGUSTING apartment. The floors hadn't been vacuumed.... EVER. The fridge had food in it that was moldy and way nasty. We honestly threw everything away. There were dirty dishes in the sick and in the dishwasher. Mom, you would have been disgusted. We called the housing coordinators for the mission and told them to come over and give us cleaning stuff. We spent the rest of the day Tuesday cleaning up after the elders and unpacking our belongings. No missionary work went on that day.

Wednesday and Thursday- We were still cleaning the apartment. We called the AP's to tell them the apartment was totally trashed and we needed an extra day to clean it. They authorized it and now it's livable. :) We're still vacuuming. I've vacuumed over our bedroom floor 6 times and the vacuum is full every time. My socks were black on the bottom. (please...someone....send her some new socks!!  :-)

Friday we had district meeting and got the car! We only have the car part time. I was so spoiled in my past areas. We have so many hills here and our area is actually really spread out for it being a college town.

Sunday our ward boundaries got moved. We already knew this was happening and we couldn't really do any missionary work because we didn't know where the cut off was and we really didn't want to get attached to anyone. Hahaha but the split took our one investigator. :( ...and a focus family we loved. But we are loving the Cheney 1st ward!

I still vote that there should be an instruction book to sweeping an area. Its really hard to figure out where we're going on foot and we're working on finding key families to work with. Hahaha. But Tritt and I love the adventure! 

We've had TONS of crazy coincidences since we've been here. One of the ones that has made a huge impact on us AND the ward is the sweet family. They are a less-active family and the ward has been trying to get into their house for like 5 years. The bishop gave us their name and so we went over there. First off, they let us in. Which was huge. Then we talked to the family, trying to get the know them better, and the wife said she was from Snowflake, Arizona! I asked her if she knew the Bigler family and she said she is a Bigler! I think she looks like one for sure. I explained I know the Bigler family and she just couldn't believe it! She invited us back over and said she was going to come to church on Sunday!

I know that I have been put in this Cheney Ward with Sister Tritt for a reason. Sometimes it's hard and we get lost and we don't know what's going on,  but the Lord works in mysterious ways. I know that we can do work here and we will see this area grow.

I love all of you.

Sister Gardanier

                           Her new apartment....haha!!

                     It took the sisters three days to clean the apartment after the elders.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 18, 2014 - Elder Neil L. Andersen visits mission

The mission took a group picture while Elder Neil L. Andersen was visiting the Spokane Washington Mission.  You can see Sis Gardanier on the bottom row 7 from the right.  She is wearing a yellow skirt and white shirt.   LOVE her smile!

Can you find her in this picture?  This one makes me giggle...

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13. 2014 - Cheney, Washington

"I Will Come To You"

TRANSFER #3! I am leaving Mica Peak. I will be sweeping (she explained in an email that the term "sweeping" means the old missionaries are leaving the area and new missionaries are "sweeping" in) into Cheney 1st Ward with Sister Tritt! She and I were roommates in Post Falls (her first area)! My dream has been to be companions with her and I'm so crazy excited to work with her!

Transfer week is always hard for me. I never know what to say to people when they ask if I'm leaving. I wish I had more than one day to say good-bye. That one day just doesn't do it justice. So many people here have changed my life. Literally. I will never be the same person I was before I came here. I have learned the true meaning and feeling of love.

I have had the experience of helping a woman who's daughter recently passed away. A member in our ward teaches junior high with this woman. We had an appointment with the member this week and she informed us of what has been going on. She asked us for help on what to say. Sister Pope and I went to the library looking for Mormon Messages to show her. Having had this experience, it makes me so grateful to know that we can be with our families forever. Because Heavenly Father loves us, he wants to provide hope and everlasting peace to us when we need it the most. Sister Pope and I decided to tell the member about the Mormon Message "Mountains to Climb." As I watched it the first time, I tried to put myself into the shoes of this grieving mother who misses her 16 year old daughter. My heart broke and for a moment, I could literally feel the pains and broken heart of this mother. But, as I watched and listened, I could feel the love that Heavenly Father has for that family and the peace that he will give to her as she watches that message. I am so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who will help us through every situation we have on earth. From a stubbed toe to the death of a loved one, He assures us " I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

Last week I had the opportunity of going to the temple! I realize how lucky I am to have a temple IN MY MISSION. I know there's a ton of missionaries who never get to go back to the temple until they get home. This was perhaps my favorite temple experience so far. In my last area, I grew to be very close with one of the young women in the ward. Her name is Camille and she is lovely. She has received her mission call to go to Jamaica and reports in March. As "luck"  would have it, she was at the same temple session that I was. When I saw her in the temple we hugged and cried. In that moment, I felt a fraction of the happiness and pure joy that we will feel when we see loved ones on the other side. I also know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will have joy beyond measure when they see us after we have completed our life here on earth. We embrace and cry, being so glad to reunite after being separated for such a long time. I also went to the temple with personal questions and a desire to feel peace. I have found that peace that I've been needing and the answers I have been searching for.

This week I also went on exchanges with Sister Tea! This is my miracle of the week. Hands down. Heavenly Father looks out for his missionaries and takes care of them no matter what. We had an appointment with a member who lives way up on the mountain and it's a dirt road all the way up. With no guard rails. Long story short, a family who was going up with us said they would follow us since they didn't know where to go and because they didn't think my car would make it up. So we were driving and there was a super icy and steep switchback and my car started sliding towards the cliff. I hit the e brake so we wouldn't die. I tried gunning it and I couldn't get any traction. So, Jeremy (the member driving behind us) came up to my window and told me to back down the road. As I was doing that, our tires were on the edge and we were totally slipping. Scariest moment of my life. Jeremy knocked on my window and told me to get out because I was scaring him and he wanted to do it. Hahahaha. Our little 2 wheel drive car couldn't make it up. But we hopped in with Jeremy and his wife and went the rest of the way. I'm so grateful that the Lord prompted Jeremy to follow us up that mountain, because if we were alone, we would have been stuck because our phone doesn't have service. Jeremy's quick thinking practically saved our lives.  

I love you all and I'm so grateful for you. :)

Sister Gardanier

P.S. I forgot to tell you! Elder Neil L. Andersen of the 12 Apostles came to speak to our mission on Saturday! I even got to meet him! Its was crazy awesome. He is such a great guy and I was so blessed to be able to meet him. He definitely is a General Authority called by God. 

It was so much fun to see all the missionaries at one time! :)

                  Saying goodbye to the Stewart's...I love this family!

                 These are some of her companions from her mission.  From left to
                  right it is Sis. Burgoyne, Sis. Gardanier, Sis. Pope, Sis. Harper,
                  Sis. Johnson, and Sis. Johnson's current companion Sis. Fuller.
                Look at the name tags...Sister Gardanier and Sister Gardiner.
                    They even look alot alike!!  You can also notice she has
            cut some bangs...something she hasn't had since elementary school.
                                          She looks super cute!!

                This picture was texted to me from a family in the Mica Peak Ward
                        This amazing ward member got lunch for Sister Gardanier
                               on her last day at her favorite place, Cafe Rio!    
                                     Thank you...Love you fellow Mom!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014

"Lord, I Believe.  Help Thou Mine Unbelief"

This week has been one of the hardest weeks to have desire to do anything. Its been so awful. But it has also been a really fun week and this transfer has gone by so fast! We get transfer calls on Sunday and that's insane to me. It doesn't feel like its been 6 weeks since the last set of transfers.

I'll probably be leaving this next transfer, so I've been trying to wrap up some of the things I've started here as well as trying to help Sister Pope learn the members, investigators, and just the area in general. It's a lot to remember, but she's great and will be amazing! Also since I'm leaving, I've been able to look back on what I've done in the Mica Peak Ward and how I've helped this ward grow and the progress I've made in my own life spiritually. I've learned a ton since I've been here, and I'm so grateful for the experiences that I've had. Heavenly Father put me here for a reason. And I've come to love each and every person I've taught and gained a relationship with. I've learned so many things, but these were the top five things that have really changed me for the better.

1. Heavenly Father LOVES Each of Us.
He doesn't just casually like us or occasionally think about us. His love is infinite and inexpressible. He knows everything we think and all the feelings we have every moment of every day. He knows the things we want and the blessings we need. He will give us what we need instead of what we want. This is a difficult and trying principle for our "natural man" to learn, but He knows what will help us the most in the end, and that is what he will give to us. He listens intently to each of our prayers because he knows the things we are asking for are so personal for us.

2. Numbers DO NOT Matter.
This is more of a missionary principle that I've learned. I haven't had much convert success here, but I know that doesn't make me a bad missionary. I've reactivated more less active members and helped more people go back to the temple than I've baptized. And I don't care at all. I know I have helped here, but in a different way than I would have expected. Our district struggles a lot in the same ways. But knowing that we are all here for the same purpose helps us to want to be better.

3. The Gift of Agency is Frustrating.
I LOVE that we can choose for ourselves. Don't get me wrong. It just is so hard when you are helping people progress to be a better person and they choose to not accept or not do their part. Especially when they have felt the spirit testify that what we are saying is true or they know and they just don't want to try. Agency is what we fought for before we came to earth, and I know its so important.

4. Accessing the Atonement is Possible and Necessary.
I was really concerned when I first got here that I wouldn't be successful and that Heavenly Father had forgotten me. I knew he loved me, but I didn't know what he wanted me to do and I didn't want to disappoint him. So, I learned that the atonement is for each of to use. and that we NEED to use it. We are all sinners and hypocrites. We all sin differently. Anything we do that isn't Christlike is a sin and requires repentance. But I've learned that the atonement is for ME. It's for me to use how I need it. I don't make big, huge mistakes everyday. But, I do have weaknesses and uncertainties that I need to leave with Heavenly Father. He can take care of all those things because my big brother paid the price for them and already knew I was going to struggle for those things. I can't focus on me, but there are things I need to work on. So I have to trust that Heavenly Father is going to make the things that I need happen. There is no possible way to over-use the atonement. Its a beautiful and positive thing. Being relieved of sin or sadness is the most rewarding thing I've experienced.

5. The Book of Mormon is True.
I gained a testimony of this slowly, but surely. I didn't get a miraculous sign or feeling as I read the last verse. At the end of my reading, I realized that my testimony came slowly at the end of each page. As I read, I understood that each prophet writing was called of God and that each experience and trial that came to those people really happened. And because the Book of Mormon is true, that this is His true church, and that Christ will one day come again to reign here on the earth. At the end of each page, my testimony was strengthened and I learned what was necessary for me at that time. 

New Year's Eve was SO MUCH FUN. Oh my goodness. Most of the missionaries in our zone went to a cabin to play games and eat dinner. I wish you could have been there. You would have died. I never laughed so much in my life. I recorded videos. :) We played a game called telephone charades and the elders were so funny. We were all home and in bed by 10:30. So, no midnight celebrations for us! Haha.

We moved back into the Wilkinson's on Friday. And the worst part is I can't really unpack because I could just pack everything back up for transfers. So, our room looks like a tornado hit it because we don't really know what to do with all of our stuff. Hahaha.

I love you all! I'm so grateful for the influence you have been in my life and that I've been blessed because of your prayers.


Sister Gardanier

                                           Happy New Year!!