Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016.01.25 Independencia

-"You´re right little guy, nunca es demasiado tarde para cambiar." (It's never too late to change.)

He looks a little like a ragged angel.
Hey Mom,
When the second counselor gets up to conduct the sacrament meetings, do they play the peter gunn theme? Or when he´s walking in the Foyer or when he´s in the ward activities? That´d be pretty cool. Hey so that means I´ll see Mark (Hawkins) in the high council report thingy, neat-o.

Today was a super cool week, we have had a lot of work to do. Elder T and I have been working really well together, and the ward has been working hard as well, and that is pretty dandy. There´s the joke in the ward that I´m going to finish my mission here in Independencia, or that I´m in the Mission México Monterrey Independencia. It´s kind of true, but it´s fine with me, we´re still finding people that we´ve never met before, so that´s good. Elder T says that it´s my last week here, since changes are coming up next week. I thought I was going to leave last change and I didn´t, so I´m just going to hold my tongue this time.

One of the experiences that we had this week was with one of the young couples we are teaching. We had an appointment arranged for saturday in the evening. They have a 1 year old baby boy, who has ashma. They couldn´t accompany us to the ward family home evening because they had to take their baby to the clinic. So when we arrived, the father mentioned that we porbably wouldn´t be able to share a message that day because their baby was pretty sick. We offered to say a prayer in their home at least, and they let us come in. When we came in, Elder T had the idea to offer to give the baby a blessing. So we talked to them about it for a little, and they agreed and thought that it would be a good idea. I had the opportunity of giving the fussy little boy a blessing. When we finished, the little one calmed down and looked up at us in wonder, and in that moment the spirit filled the room. His parents really didn´t know what to say, neither did we! They showed us their gratitude for our service, and after about a minute and a half of silent peace, the boy jumped off of the lap of his mother and went to play with a balloon. They weren´t able to come to church yesterday, but I know that the blessing that we gave to their little child and that peaceful moment was something that impacted their life, and I´m very greatful that I could be there for it.

Today we didn´t do anything special on our preperation day, we cleaned the house and bought groceries and such. So there was a lot of time for me to study and write, I drew a bird (sick dude) and I studied some more. I got through the Book of Alma again, so that feels good. And I´ll just say that the Book of Alma is a great book in the Book of Mormon full of worthwhile teachings and lessons, even in the last chapters that deal with the wars and contentions. But after 63 chapters of Alma, it always feels good to be in Helaman. But, I did like this verse in Alma 61
14 Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God.

It is much easier to resist temptation if we acknoledge that we are part of the cause of Righteousness, like Pahoran and Moroni did. We can fight off evil with Our righteousness and the Power of God as it mentions in 1 Nephi 14. (I don´t remember the verse, and I can not look it up because, hilariously, the pornography filter blocks me from reading 1 nephi 14 in, and I imagine it is because it says the word whore in the chapter. hahahahaha, don´t worry filter the Book of Mormon looks down upon those things too.) If we resist all evil, we can exile it, and fill light and truth in its place. I know that this is true.

Well, I´ll talk to you guys next week, I´ll send some pictures now.


Elder Garner
Plain Chachalacas

Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016.01.18 Independencia

[click above to hear the song he's quoting]
First of all, there´s something that I didn´t tell you concerning last week in chipinque. Some newspeople thought it would be a great idea to interview some foreign missionaries to publicize monterrey and the park, so they interviewed me and the zone leaders. Well not a big deal, but the next day in our district meeting, a sister missionary from the other district in the zone got a call from a member saying "I saw Elder Garner on the news!" And I replied (as Charlie Brown would): "Good Grief!" After that many members, investigators, and a couple of people in the street told us that they had seen us on the news. hahaha! Well I hope me accent was alright, I just talked about birds nothing new. After they interviewed us we talked to them about the gospel so maybe it was worth it. But here´s the link:

News interview in progress.

Sounds like it was a cool basketball-martin-luther-college-70s-stake week (what?) This week and a half was a blast. I don´t know why, but the Holy Ghost has been working really hard in our area and we are just trying to keep up. I like to think that it´s the Lord doing the work, and not us, because that´s how it really is: It´s the Lord´s work and he gives us the opportunity to be instruments of the Holy Ghost, and The Holy Ghost can use as instruments better than I could play oboe (bad) or clarinet (much better than the oboe.) Hmmm. There were many amazing experiences that we have had, but I´ll share just one. This sunday we had a very spiritual service. The Sacrament meeting was full, a young women bore a solemn testimony right before leaving on her mission. I played piano and didn´t make any errors (I´ve been the pianist for more than 2 months now, but this time I nailed there´s a member who moved into the ward that plays piano super well and so I don´t have to play anymore, good way to end.) Our investigators were able to learn a lot about the Savior and his atonement in the gospel principles class, and M.A. recieved the Aaronic Priesthood. At the end there was a baptism of a young girl and many of her inactive family members, with whom we have been teaching, were able to feel the strength and warmth of the spirit that they needed to rekindle their testimony. It is true what the Savior says in Doctrine and Covenants, that the ordainances of the Gospel testify of the divinity of the Lord (not correctly quoted, and dont remember where the scripture is but that´s ok.)  I just feel super happy to be able to be here and help everybody love the Gospel as I do. President Eyring once said that as we help others come unto Christ, we come even closer unto Christ, and that is a special blessing that I can feel here in the mission field.

Davis and Elder H, a former companion who is headed home.
After the Temple today, we watched a worlwide missionary transmition from the missionary department, which included talks and discussions from apostles, seventies and other general authorities. It blew my socks off (Don´t worry I put them back on.)

Well sometimes I feel kind of bad because I have a lot to share but no time to do it, but I guess that  it´s a good thing that I have a journal. But I recently found a scripture that helped me find a more clear way to teach of the atonement and how we can accept it and apply it, Alma 34:15-16

15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

We can be in the Christ´s arms of safety, if he have the faith that leads us to repentance. We can all have that faith. Even if we don´t now, a Prophet in the Book of Mormon promises us that if we have the desire to have faith, Heavenly Father will help us plant that seed and let it grow, so that we may taste of his goodness and grace (Alma 32:27,42)
Being a Missionary is awesome, I love you all.

Elder Garner

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016.01.11 Independencia

Davis at the lookout point in Chipinque park.

Hey Mom!

sounds like everything is normal up there, I guess that´s cool (I´m kind of tired right now bare with me, I´ll explain why in a little bit.) This week was super awesome. We taught a lot of people, found a lot of people, a lot of people came to church, and a lot of people are feeling the spirit and the truth of the things that we teach. This area has really changed since I arrived here, and my attitude has as well. I guess even in places where there would seem to be no hope, something can be planted and can grow into something grand. I think about the scripture found in Jacob 5:20-22
20 And it came to pass that they went forth whither the master had hid the natural branches of the tree, and he said unto the servant: Behold these; and he beheld the first that it had brought forth much fruit; and he beheld also that it was good. And he said unto the servant: Take of the fruit thereof, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self; for behold, said he, this long time have I nourished it, and it hath brought forth much fruit.
21 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard.
22 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.
The Lord Knows his vineyard perfectly, the servants don´t. They work with all of their might, but they don´t perfectly understand the will of the Father. That´s probably why the Lord puts missionaries like me in a tough area for a long time, so that I can become more patient and understand his ways a little bit better. Now I´m not saying that this is the worst area in the world, neither that I was the one who changed it to being a good area, nothing of the sort. Let´s just say that this missionary wasn´t awfully fond of staying in the area for more than 3 months back then, but now he can look back and show gratitude towards the omniscent Savior. I always remember something that Elder Oaks shared once, or who was it? anyways, it´s that we often don´t, or can´t recognize the blessings we recieve or that we have until we press forward, keep progressing, and then look back to see that the Lord was always there blessing us.
Elder T at Christmas
The Christmas package made it!

Bird calendars for Christmas

Also, Hno. M. A. was confirmed yesterday and he was super excited about that. That was awesome.
Davis, Hno M.A and Elder T

Ok here´s something super cool, and why I am kind of tired right now. We had a district activity today and we went to Chipinque Ecological Park! What does that mean?...BIRDWATCHING! Wow that is super cool Elder Garner. Yea I know, wanna hear what birds I saw? Yes I´d love to. (I don´t know who I was talking to just then, but it was someone who was interested in birds.)
District activity at Chipinque.
Well I didn´t see that many species, but for someone who hasn´t gone birdwatching in almost a year and a half, they´ll be happy to see a mourning dove (ok not really, those are pretty sad birds)
anyway I saw
Mourning Dove
Band Tailed Pigeon
Black Crested Titmouse
Mexican Jay (new)
Audubon oriole (new)
Canyon Wren
Spot Breasted Wren (new)
House Wren
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Hepatic Tanager (new)
Black Headed Grosbeak
Crescent-chested  Warbler (new)
Black and White Warbler (new)
Hermit Warbler
Painted Whitestart (new)
Rufous-capped Warbler (new)
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
Hutton´s Vireo
Hairy Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Green Jay (always cool)
Elegant Trogon (new, bird of the day)
An Elegant Trogon

Cerro de la Silla in the distance
So a member dropped us off at the look out point and we went exploring for a bit and then went down the mountain, it was a super cool place, kind of chilly but nice weather overall. There were some giant rock slides we went down, that was pretty cool. There were a bunch of mexican jays, they´re pretty big and noisy like most jays. All of the new warbler species were really neat, and two of them are species that are very rare to find in the US, so it was nice to see them here. We got down to the visitor´s center and I was looking in one of the local birding books and it said that chipinque was the best place in Nuevo Leon to find Elegant Trogons, and I thought "Dang I was not even looking for them." and so we left and we were going to go down the street to grab a taxi, and then I saw some green Jays, and I had told everyone that I would find them some green jays (cuz they´re pretty cool) so we were looking at them. Then to the right of the tree were the green jays were I saw a red breasted bird...Elegant Trogon! Now that was definitely a miracle, because it is a super good looking bird. I got a really crumby picture of it, and we went down and got a taxi to take us to a buffet, and that was pretty sweet too.

Anyway that´s my week. I haven´t sent photos for more than 3 weeks, since Christmas, so I ´m going to try and send a lot of photos right now. It seems that we might go to the Temple next wednesday, so it might be that my preperation day will be next wednesday and not the normal monday.

I love you all so much!

Elder Garner
Sharing a soda with Hno. M.A.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016.01.04 Independencia

Dear mom,

Wow there is a lot of stuf that has happened this week, holy guacamole. First of all, about BYU. We had an activity in the mission offices today, and the whole mission went! That´s never happened before, but it was pretty cool. There Sis. McArthur told me about your email, and I went to talk to pres McArthur. He said that our original release date had been pushed back from aug. 31 to sept. 7, but that I, for school, could go home on the 18th of august. Turns out that Elder G is also going to go home a bit early and is going to go to school too, and I could actualy room with him. 

I´m not too stressed about leaving a week or two early. To look on the bright side, any of my friends could go to my homecoming talk before they head to school as well. I remember my farewell talk was in the end of august, and some of my friends had already left. Maybe this would allow more of them to come and I could share some of my experiences to feel the spirit. Anyway, you can talk to Elder G´s mom about that. I will probably be a bit nervous to go to school, just because I´ll have to speak english, I don´t have to speak english here which is nice.

The activity we had was basically just a bunch of sports, we had a soccer tournament, and President spoke to us for a bit and then we had hotdogs. it´s pretty cold right now, and it was raining on firday and saturday. No tengo frio, y eso está bien. I was able to talk to alot of my old companions at the Activity, such as Elder Hernandez and Elder T from Cienega de flores, Elder R and the missionaries from the MTC. I found out that A, my convert from Cienega, recently recieved the Melchisedec Priesthood! O from Nicolas Bravo is now a Teacher as well! K is also doing well in Nicolas Bravo, and it´s very good to hear that they´re all active, and even more important, happy!, in the church.

Yesterday, we had a baptism! M. A. was baptized. He´s an older guy, not as old as Hno. J but he´s still an older folk. I was able to baptize him, and it was a very special moment. The water was lukewarm, but with the air getting out was very cold. I asked him how he felt, and he said VERY COLD! I didn´t feel that cold, I felt full of the spirit. After changing I asked him how he felt, and he told me "I don´t feel guilty of anything, I feel content and peaceful." That is a good feeling, and I was very greatful that he could feel that. Quick question, is it greatful or grateful? I´ve never known...But anyway, We can always feel as Hno. M. A., without guilt, if we repent and make a covenant with our Father in heaven to be obedient. If we are baptized we can recieve that peace of conciousness, as the people of king benjiman felt (Mosiah 4:2-3) and everyone can recieve it, as did the once wicked lamanites, who repented of their sins and changed their ways (Alma 19:36) If we mess up afterwards, we can always repent again and partake of the sacrament, and renew our covenant. Our Heavenly Father truly loves us.

I also became fond of the hymn 273 "Truth Reflect Upon Our Senses" It helps us understand the importance of not judging one another, but loving one another and taking out the beam from our eye before taking the mote out of another´s eye. I guess that it is something important for me to do as a district leader. I need to improve my weaknesses and keep getting better, rather than telling other missionaries what they´re doing wrong. if I can get good at doing that, then people could follow that example and take out their own beams, and that would work much better.

anyway, I have a lot of pictures I want to send, but this computer doesn´t have a place to do it :/ I´d like to send pictures of the baptism too, but I´m going to have to do it next week then. But don´t worry!

I love you! Happy new Year!

Elder Garner

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016.12.28 Independencia

Hey Mom!

This week was super good! I don´t really have much to tell you because I just talked to you guys on friday. After friday we ate super healthy for three days, so you can feel really good about that. We had three people in church this week, hna socorro came too so we were really happy about that (That´s the one investigator that had that super awesome testimony experience)

[Note to reader: Chris told Davis in an email that I was going to keep him home with me next fall instead of sending him to BYU because I miss him too much.  He was joking - Davis would go crazy without something constructive to do for that long.] 

Hey you know I got really sad when dad made that joke and that I found out it wasn´t true, that I´ll be going to BYU straight away and that I might have to finish my mission a couple of weeks early. It´s cuz I started planning out in my mind what I could do from then until january in california, and I thought about all of the birds I could see, that I could go to thanny´s races, and stuff like that. I mean, I´m not bummed about going to school or anything, the thing that would bum me out would be coming home a tiny bit early. Of course I would finish with honor, and a week or two doesn´t do much difference, but it´s just going to be so hard leaving monterrey, and finish my mission. There´s nothing like being a missionary, I feel so happy doing the Lord´s will. It would also give me a bit of remorse, not being able to finish with the fine missionary with whom I started. But, Let the Lord´s will be done and not mine. As you told me before mom, I will be sharing the gospel my whole life, and that´s true, so if that´s what happens, I shouldn´t be discouraged.

I was thinking about two things in this month. First, something know as the "dark year" in the mission, it´s the whole year that you aren´t with your family, in my case it would be 2015 because  I started in august 2014, and I´ll be finishing in 2016, but for the whole year of 2015 I will be a missionary. Funny the term, but I was thinking that it really isn´t a "dark year" at all, but instead, the brightest year of my life. A whole calendar year spent walking along side of the Savior, preaching his gospel, and feeding his sheep. I feel eternally grateful for this year, and how I have changed what the Lord has given me in this time, and the oportunity I have had to give back.

Luckily, I still have 8 months left, and if you were to take the time of the mission (24 months) and compare it to a 3 mile cross country race, each 8 months would be a mile. I remember most of my races, and in the good races, my best races, I ran the first 2 miles wisely and speedily. Arriving upon the third mile, you don´t feel anguish or pain, but excitement and adreniline to give it all you got. I guess for lack of a better analogy, that´s how I feel at this time of my mission. I have served in those first 16 months wisely and diligently, and these last 8 months I look forward to giving my all. Do you remember those encouraging words you would give me? "What have you got to lose?" Well there´s nothing to lose here, but everything to gain. The Lord descended under all things, he went the extra mile, and for that he has recieved all glory and comprehension, and has the grace and love to show us the way to do it too. We should all have the new years goal to be more like Jesus Christ. If we don´t, we should have the goal to make better goals!

Send me some skiing pictures!


Elder Garner del Barrio Independencia

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016.12.21 Independencia

Hahahahahahhahahaa, [See copies of Nathaniel's Christmas list below - this is what Davis is laughing at.]

Tell Thanny to be grateful if he gets plain white yogurt! that´s the only thing I want. you know I always got something for christmas that was never on any of my christmas lists, and that was a snock in the snoot, so I hope thanny can get one of those too.

So I thought that list was too funny that I don´t have anything else to say. Oh wait, do you want to know where I got transfered? me too, but we´ll find out in febuary because I´m staying in Independencia for another month and a half with Elder T! how cool is that right? And everybody thought I was going to leave hahahaha, well not until I have contacted every person in this area...or when the milenium begins, whicheverone comes first.

Anyway for skype. I´ll skype you guys at 5pm central time, 3pm for you guys. that´ll be exciting. Thanny will have to tell me about the eggnog mile, and he´ll have to tell jonny that I´ll come to the next one. I´m still thrown off by that wish list that thanny put up. Dang it! I really wish that Thanny isn´t funnier than me when I get back home.

Hey you know I was reading Elder K´s email and it sounds like he´s doing a lot of cool stuff. C[ousin] always puts his titles in german and I don´t feel too excited to translate that.

Our convert J, who was baptized on the 6th was confrimed a member of the church yesterday, That was really exciting. He´s a really humble man, and yesterday he arrived on time to church, which was kind of weird because he usually arrives 45 minutes early, but he gave him self pace, so that counts for not being early. This man just wants to be in the church, it doesn´t really matter to him if he doesn´t understand everything or is kind of confused, he feels good there and he is glad that he is in good company. We had two others in church yesterday, and one of them (another older, humble man) is preparing to be baptized for the next week, so we are excited for that as well.

Ah, in church yesterday, a young married man who had been part of the ward before came and visited. I talked to him and asked him where he lives now, he said North Carolina. now I may have not been a perfect child, but I did listen to my dad now and then (ok...more than that) and I said "Do you happen to work for Bank of America?" DING DING DING We have a winner! hahahah so then we talked to him about banking like I was my dad, like I enjoyed finance or something. Maybe I do, who knows, will my future be in finance then? Well I´m not going to think about that right now...

Just so you know, i´m still going strong in my journal. I just read one of the teachings of President Wilford, talking about the importance of writing down your own life history. Well I feel like I´m doing a good job, and i´m grateful that for so many years you guys kept at me for writing in journals. Maybe i didn´t write so much before the mission, but now I´ve got it as a habit and it will be a blessing in the near future. I´m also grateful that Brother Oliverson highlighted the importance of having a journal as a missionary while in his sunday school class, so you can thank him for me.

Well, I´ll see you on friday!

Merry Christmas!

I love you!

Elder Garner