Monday, April 23, 2012

"No More Poems"

 Mom..... you have to stop sending my awesome poems and stuff like that..... I don´t like crying. and I really don´t like crying in the LAN House in front of random people. That e-mail was super powerful and really hit me hard spiritually. A lot of what he was talking about is almost exactly how things are here in Brasil. As I was reading it I was laughing because a lot of the things he said are exactly like some of my personal experiences and it just got me thinking about how much I really do love this country. Of course I have my days where I would love to be kickin it in Logan playing Halo and thinking about nothing, but in reality, I know for a fact that when I head home I am going to miss this place so much.... That is why I am trying to use every minute of it as wisely as I can. I love Brasil, there is just no other way to put it. And I say this as I am sitting here in my US soccer jersey.... Hahahaha
Whew! Little trunky moment there but let´s get back to business! Things this past week were great here in little Viçosa. We had another baptism here and he is awesome. He was a reference from one of our recent converts and he legit just walked up to us and said, "What do I need to do to be baptized?" Talk about the best question you could ever ask a missionary!! We were more than happy to teach him and explain to him the importance of baptism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the process of doing so, we also contacted his older sister and his mom! The whole family is great and with the baptism of the son, the other two are interested in the Gospel now as well and we are preparing them to be baptized not this Saturday but the next. I am so excited for them and I can´t wait to see a family like their's in the church together. It will be awesome and I know the Lord is just waiting to shower His blessing upon them. I love when stuff like this happens.... Miracles are dope. This is just an example to me of what can happen when the members and the missionaries are working on the same page.... The work just flows perfectly and everyone ends up happier in the end.
I am trying to think of what else happened during this week but I am just blanking...... Ah! So my comp is having back problems so we have permission to go home a little earlier then usual. Most of the time I just plan then go to sleep because I am beat, but on Thursday for some reason, I decided to stay up and read. I read tons, the Bible, the BOM, Ensigns, anything you can think of, and I just went to bed happier that night. I am used to reading the scripts in the morning but not at night cause I am usually just too tired, but I have decided to make it a goal to at least read something about the Gospel before I go to bed. I am already noticing a difference. It is amazing how much comfort can come from just reading, it is a great way to calm down and get focused. 

We have been talking a lot about the BOM lately and how important it is to always read a little bit from it. If a member of the Church reads a little bit from the BOM every day, they will never distance themselves from the Church. I find this to be true. We had the chance to visit with the first person to ever be baptized in Viçosa this past week and it was a pretty neat experience, but very sad at the same time. She was baptized in 1991, best year ever :p, and was super strong in the church until about 2007. We don´t know what happened, but we do know that she stopped reading the Book of Mormon then. And while we were talking with her she asked me the difference between the BOM and the Bible and I told her that if you don´t read the BOM you are just doing what every other religion does... and that eventually you would fall away from the Church... like in her case. She just sat there for awhile thinking and then the subject ended up getting changed, but as we left we made a promise to her that we will stop by at least once a week and read with her and call her on other nights to she if she is reading herself. I know this will make a difference in her life, but I know this will take a lot of time, but it is so worth it. She is an amazing lady, great cook, and needs to go back to church.
And that brings us to now! (Dave from HotRod) I hope you all had a great week and congratulations to Ian and Holli for finishing school at a wannabe Utah State. Hahaha I really am happy for you too, though. Holli, I wanna hear you speak Spanish on Mothers Day. I wanna see how big the difference is between the two. I am sure we will understand each other a little bit, but it world be fun to try. Tanner you can join in too! The three of us can just make fun of everyone else yeah? Woot! :) So I am not going to send you guys any more pictures until I get some pictures of Heber. Hahaha I hope you like the ones I sent this week. The older guy in the pics is the Pres of the branch he is probably my favorite person in the mission. We speak parcel tongue all the time and he is teaching my how to samba. Have an awesome week and stay fly!
Elder Big Deal
Here's the letter I sent Cache that he's referring to in his letter.  This was forwarded from Nyla
FW: My friend's son is returning home from his mission and this was his last letter this week, just thought I would share........

Last Words from Honduras

Its here! The day has come and I've been thinking all week about what it was that I wanted to say you all today being my last time to write from here in Honduras. Ive slowly been writing this all week for you guys for my last email... I got the idea from a poem I have read in the mission.

I think I found out what the mission is.....

Its impossible to describe a mission, but rather its the moments, Its sending in your papers. Its opening the call that is signed by a prophet of the lord. Its the 3 months of time before the MTC that seems like its never gonna end. Its the hug from parents and brothers and sisters and walking away in the greatest adventure of a life time. The MTC, the rules, the packages, the classroom, the firesides and devotionals (actually being disappointed when its a Seventy speaking). Its flight plans, tons of food, testimonies, and cabin fever. Its the airport, a phone call sharing your first wanna be testimony in Spanish to your family as tears run down your face. Then out of the little swimming pool and into the ocean of uncertainty.

Its the mission presidents, trainers, realizing your didn't learn hardly any Spanish in those 9 weeks but loving it all at the same time. Its new food, new people, new culture, new language, new currency, new form of transportation, new routine, new everything under the sun (which is really hot). its a lot of first that change: first district meeting first contact, first lesson, first letter from home, first email, first Latin companion, first cold shower with water your not so sure you can touch and survive, first morning of trunkyness, first Sunday in church, first time a kid speaks and if and you turn to your comp to ask if that was Spanish and he only laughs, first First vision, first baptism... unforgettable, no matter how disorganized it is.

First changes come and its all a blurr after that. Its being anxious for your companion to leave then to your surprise you miss him when he is gone. Its 99 contacts.. and nothing. Its shaking fingers, lying children (my mom says shes not here), and barking biting dogs. But its the hope that contact number 100 will be the one. The one that wants to change. The one who has been crying for help to a God that he or she wants to follow, but doesn't know where to find him. The one that seems perfect: perfect questions, perfect work schedule, married, perfect kids that don't scream during a lesson and most importantly, a desire to make it work even if everything isn't perfect. its the hope of finding the one that gets you up every morning, gets you out of members house in 100 degree plus weather and when everyone is sleeping, and gets you to open your mouth and speak even though you don't speak well and don't like leaving your comfort zone.

Its finding the one, one convert, future priesthood holder, or better yet, one golden family. Its making plans, working with members, a lots and lots of prayers to help find that family. Many are found, but few choose to be chosen. Its thousands of disappointments as the family´s commitment falls to doubts, gossip, weather, or anything else clever that Satan comes up with on Saturday night. Its getting the family to church for the fist time and helping them feel at home. Its showing them the Church, presenting them to the bishop and other leaders, as well as the cute, outgoing teenage girl so that the young man in the investigator family will enjoy the experience as well. Its praying that the bishops 2 year old wont make too big of a fuss, that the speakers wont teach too much false doctrine, and that they will feel and recognize the spirit in spite of all that.
Its when that family gets baptized that the reality of what you are giving them hits you. Its the hope of having and eternal family. Its the hope of a better life, without pain and suffering. Its giving that Hope which brings you the greatest satisfaction and joy that you have ever experienced.
Its like going back in time and appreciating what you had back home. Its the firm declaration that you will never complain about vacuuming again when actually have carpet, or mowing the lawn when you actually have grass.
Its having to shower with flip flops and washing your own clothes on those cement trays that you though they only used in the pioneer days.... and you learn to love it.
Its stepping into a baptismal font with freezing cold water, flipping a bug out, and doing your best to put your happy face on so that the little girl getting baptized doesn't get cold feet.
Its getting home soaked 75-80% of the time, whether from the rain or sweat, Its sitting in front of a fan wondering if you can do this another day in the oven your living in.
Its Elderes 14, Cockroaches 1 in a matter of just 2 weeks. Its letters and packages from home. Its wedding announcements, Dear Johns( luckily just to your buddies), pictures, and the realization that life does indeed move on without you!!
Its going through 3 pairs of shoes, ripped pants, missing buttons, shredded collars, and socks closer to heaven (holy).
Its ants, frogs, scorpions, cockroaches, rats, and the little bugs that give you killer diarrhea.
Its a rainstorm that soaks you and your comp cuz them so called umbrellas don't even work with true buckets are coming down on ya. Its walking through water up to your calves and not having anything else to do but laugh as people look at you like your crazy(which ISN'T a complete misconception). Its going out in the rain because an Elder once convinced you that for every rainstorm you work through, the hotter your future wife will be!
Its shortly after your year mark that you get a mini-calendar from your mom and sister and wondering if they are trying to kill you or if they think its gonna make time go by faster. From then on Its change day, Mothers day, Christmas Day, Hump Day, Birthday, P-day, Friendship Day, and Election Day (which always makes for an interesting Sunday). Its good days, bad days, killer journal entry days, and days that you just don't want to end. Those are the good ole days.
The days that cant be enjoyed without a price... hard work, sweat, discouragement, frustration, and faith.
Its discovering that God does hear and answer prayers. Sometimes He takes away from everyone else so that we can really get to know Him. Its coming to learn in a tiny degree, the power of the Atonement applies not only to vile sinners, but also to each individual, including you. Its feeling that power and knowing you'll never be the same.
Its knowing that you have a testimony and nobody can take that from you. Its building it one piece at a time. Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is true. the priesthood keys have been restored. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. its sharing that testimony dozens of times a day that roots it deeply in your soul.
Its watching missionary after missionary give their final testimonies, while you are certain that day will never arrive for you... and then it does. Its learning the live in the moment and not for the moment because all too soon, its gone. Its the sunsets, the music, the dirt dusty streets, dirty kids. the tiny houses, and the love of the people. its soaking it all in, catching every detail, because you'll never get it back.
Its arriving at the last couple days in your mission, knowing your family is waiting NOT so patiently. Its those last couple contacts that you know you will never see get baptized but you still just wanna leave your soul with them.
Its wondering about the effect of one mission. Does one mission really have eternal consequences? Does planting one seed, teaching one lesson, finding one person really matter at all?
Did the mission of ONE make a difference?
Did His ministry, His teachings, His seed planting have an effect on the eternities?
Did His one infinite atonement pay the price of justice and give mercy her claim???
As you get ready to go back to the former life that you're convinced was just a dream, its realizing that while you were in the service of your fellow being, your have only been in the service of God. Its feeling your hear and soul overflow with gratitude for the chance you had to show your worth, give your all, and return with honor. its BECOMING like the ONE, the Only Begotten, the Son of Man, the Prince of Peace, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind, even Jesus Christ. Its those two years for which you will eternally praise the Lord, as the life that was converted more than any other was only one--YOU
Its the tears that roll down your cheek as you write your last email. Its knowing that this poem could go on forever but you don't know, when, how, or where to stop. Its wanting to tell your family how much you love them and hoping they will accept this as a final testimony from Honduras knowing now... without a doubt... that this is the true church.

Two years may come to an end... but for me, my mission will be with me forever. 
Love you all!!
Love your missionary
Elder Gardne

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