Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016.03.21 Huasteca

Davis even likes to see graffiti birds.

Hey Mom! How are the California Poppies?

Elder S and Davis running on the La Huasteca dam
Well I`ll tell you what we did this preparation day, we went to La Huasteca today to run with a member. We ended up going to a dried up abandoned dam and we climbed on it and it was pretty cool. I didn`t see many birds, just a phanopelia (or however it`s spelled, species of silky flycatcher.) But the mountains were really pretty and the air was nice (and cold too.) I`ll send some photos.

Well this was a great week, and we finished the change. I thought that elder S was going to finish his mission here with me, but it seems that he will be going to another zone to finish his mission, and my new companion will be Elder G! Wow wasn`t he in the MTC with you, yea he was! Hey that`s going to be pretty neat. So I`m pretty excited for that. Some of the missionaries are leaving the zone, and fresh new missionaries will come, so that should be fun as well. I hope that I can continue to develop good leadership skills and be a friend with everyone so I can help them out when they`re having trouble. There are some missionaries that have been here for a long time, and so they might feel a bit sad because they aren`t having so much success and they`re still in the same area, so we will see what we can do to help them out and encourage them to keep moving forward with faith.

quick joke: Brother Parry, Thanny`s sunday school teacher emailed me. He seems nice. But when Thanny goes over to their house, does he enter saying: "Brother Parry...more like brother PARTY!" And then he starts doing some weird dance they do nowadays that I don`t know because I`ve been here for more than a couple of moons. Alright...

Yay, running to a dam....
Well this sunday we had the ward conference. It was really great, we had 5 investigators there, but I was a little disappointed because the family from last sunday didn`t arrive, but it turns out that they had a family commitment to attend, so that`s alright, we`re going to visit them today in the evening. The Bishop`s daughter has been inviting her friend to the church activities and he came to church as well, and likes to be there at the chapel, We`re going to have a family home evening with him tonight as well. There are a handful of people that can enter the waters of baptism this next change, we just need to work super hard as we have been doing and work well with the members, and continue to grow our faith. I`m excited for this change.

We did have one very impressive experience this week. We were looking for a referral one day, and then we just went up the road, walked for a little while, and then decided to go up an unknown road, we walked up for a minute and we knocked the door of a green house. A nice lady came out and let us in. We started to teach her about the plan of salvation, because she asked us why there were so many challenges in this life, and that she had a sick family member that is on the verge of death. We explained the importance of trials in this life, and that our Heavenly Father wants us to grow, and have faith in his son, Jesus Christ. She certainly was someone prepared by the Lord, because she mentioned that she felt a great feeling of peace, and that she NEVER let people in like us (such as other religions preaching.) But when we knocked her door, she just felt the need to let us in. WOW. Then, Elder S mentioned to me after the lesson that he had said a prayer in his heart that Heavenly Father would guide us to someone who would be baptized. Double WOW. We visited here the next day, and she still had that wonderful feeling, and her husband also accepted us well. Unfortunately, they just left for a trip for a couple of weeks to be with family members a ways off (Probably because of the break.) But, that was truly amazing that we were able to find them before they left, and I`m full of gratitude to the Lord that he lets us be instruments of the Holy Ghost just like that. We do all we can to be obedient and diligent and loving, and the spirit guides us and just "blows us out of the water."

Also, I finally finished the Book of Mormon on the subject of pride. That took over 4 months, yikes that`s a lot of pride present in the Book of Mormon. It really demonstrates that when others look to raise themselves in power or in riches, or simply want to satisfy their needs before the needs of others, they lead themselves to spiritual and physical destruction.
Thanks for the advice mom, I feel that the mission is just getting harder and harder, which is incredible, because it requires me to strengthen my faith and keep giving it all that I`ve got. I love it because I feel that Heavenly Father is showing me how much he expects of me, but how much confidence he has in me, and in all of us.

I`ll let you know next week how it goes in this new change! I love you all!

Elder Davis Garner

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016.03.14 Huasateca

Dear Mother of Mine,

We just had a zone activity and we played a bunch of soccer, and so now I`m kind of tired.

But that doesn`t matter cuz WHAT HAVE WE GOT? we got HEART! You know, Elder S says that I should do musicals because I`m always singing (hymns, but sometimes I will sing a sound of music song because those are pretty motivating...climb every mountain, knock every door, contact every reference, so you baptize more...stuff like that. Maybe if the musical "The Book of Mormon" was a good, true and sincere musical, then I could be in it. But it isn`t so I will be found elsewhere.

Davis and former trainee, Elder R.
This week was pretty awesome. (every week in the mission field is awesome, but this week especialmente.) Some things that happened, we had a meeting with the other zone leaders of the stake, the mission president and the Stake president. That was super awesome, the stake is really pushing forward with the missionary work, along with our bishop, so we are getting a lot of help. Next week is the ward conference, and the theme is Missionary Work...sweet. I finally got to do a baptismal interview for one of the district leader`s investigators. That was a very cool experience, and the first time I`ve done a baptismal interview. It was really cool to see someone very prepared to be baptized explain about the commandments, the Restoration, the gospel, and then share their testimony.

Also, we had a super crazy week finding people. At the end of last week Elder S and I decided that many of the investigators that we were teaching weren`t that desirous to progress, with lukewarm commitment. So we decided that we would leave the good to find the great. We found 22 new investigators wow! It was even more impressive because we really didn`t do much of it. I mean we are working hard and are exactly obedient and anxiously engaged to talk with people about the gospel and eternal families, but it was the Holy Ghost that did it all. One of the experiences that we had was walking in direction of a less active member, a couple of blocks away, and we just felt the impression to go down a certain road. So we did, and we found someone that we had taught once before, who said he never had time and he didn`t believe in God, so we didn`t put another appointment. He invited us in again and said "What a coincidence." Oh those don`t exist Mister. We had an impressive lesson, and said "Well I guess you can come back next week." We left him with the book of mormon and he committed to reading at least a chapter. Sweet. (Don`t worry, we visited the less active family too.)

We found quite a few people that are really great, but that couldn`t come to church because they were going out of town. But we had the miracle that a less active family came, and with them brought a whole other family, not members! And they were sure interested and the whole ward was going crazy, especially in the ward council. They`re on the dot, and we`re pretty excited that there is now a new handful of people to teach with the members.

What else happened. Who knows. Yeah the Bishop told me the chupacabra has wings but who knows. It rained a bit here too.

I love you guys!

good job thanny keep running fast and being skinny and brightly colored

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2016.03.07 Huasteca

Hey mom,

After studying today, our ward missionary leader took us to eat tacos de carne asada. Ahhhh they were really good. I ate 10, totally worth it. Hey but don`t worry about my health mom, I`m eating super duper healthy. We only eat good food in our house, and the members usually give us balanced meals. It`s just once in a while that we eat tacos...but really good tacos. All the salsa they have here will make you cry but it`s awesome.

You know I feel that I am getting pretty goofy in my emails. (about to get serious but then remembers something) Hey! Remember how I wrote about the Chupacabra last week? Man oh man, the bishop went with us on saturday to visit people, and he said that about 8 years ago here in La Huasteca, there was the Chupacabra sucking all of the blood from the little goats in the ranches, and I was pretty stoked to here that. So I guess next p-day we can go looking for that bird.

We had a very neat experience that day as well. At about 8:15 we were working in a colony very far from our house, so we headed over to a bus station to take the bus back home. Arriving there at about 8:30, we found that the only bus that hadn`t left had broke down...uh oh. there was one other guy waiting for the bus, and we began to talk to him. He was going to head to a quinceƱera  that was to take place in the colony we lived in. We were talking to him about the Book of Mormon, the restored church, and other subjects while waiting for the bus to get repaired. at 8:50, the bus still didn`t budge, and I was kind of getting worried because we have to be in the house at 9:00. I said a little prayer in my heart, and right after doing that they guy said, ¨Hey do you guys just want to take a taxi, we`re basically going to the same place." We didn`t have any money, just our bus cards, but he said not to worry. We got into a taxi at 8:51 and we started to talk to the taxi driver about the gospel. A very nice man, but usually the taxi drivers here never have time to listen to us in their homes, always out in the road. We went as far as the other guy was going, and he paid the taxi and got out. we were a little ways from our house, but close enough to walk, but the taxi driver said, ¨I`ll take you guys home.¨But we don`t have money! No problem. Well he drove us there and we got into the house lickety split at 9:00pm Halleluyah. This isn`t such a big experience or anything, I know, but I wanted to share it because it shows that the Lord cares about the little things as well...even curfew. I guess it was because we were doing everything we could to be obedient, and since it didn`t turn out how we had expected, the Lord helped us out.

A lot of other awesome things happened this week, but goodness I didn`t even have time to write in my journal. I`m going to try and do that right now with the time I have in the preperation day.

Tell dad to keep telling jokes, and playing golf.


Elder Garner
10 Tacos!

I don't think there are any vegetables with this meal...

Monday, March 7, 2016

2016.02.29 Huasteca

Hey Mom and Dad and everyone glad!

This week was a craaaaaazy week! Why? Well it would be really cool if I said "We were walking in the street and we found a leprechaun and he tried to challenge our testimony but we read him some scriptures in the Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:18-19 specifically, and he interpreted it as giving us his pot of gold, so we went home with a pot of gold and as we went home we came across la chupacabra y esta parte de la historia viene en espaƱol, y el nos dijo "ey muchachos denme su oro para que compre un cabrito yo." Y yo le dije "Hey I totally get what your name means now that I speak spanish! Chupa means suck, and cabra means goat! You`re a goat sucker and that`s why you want to buy cabrito!" (Cabrito is a specialty  here in Monterrey and it is VERY expensive, so that`s why he needed a pot of gold. So he said "¡Ay como sabe! es el primer gringo que sabe el significado de mi nombre!" And so we gave him the gold because we really didn`t need it, but he bought us a cabrito and it was super good. [A cabrito is a dish made with roast goat kid and a Chupacabra is a goat blood sucking monster.]

Ok that didn`t happen, but it was a hectic week, We were all over the place with divisions with other missionaries and a zone conference! Zone conferences happen once every 3 months or so, and the mission president and the assistants come, and the zone leaders give a presentation and then the president. So Elder S and I had been preparing our presentation for about 2 weeks, and it went very well! It was super fun, and the missionaries said that it was really helpful. It was about the importance of inviting the investigators to make commitments (such as going to church, stop smoking, etc.) and us following up and verifying with them. The funnest part was when we were talking about the importance of working with the members, and we went outside where there was a slack line set up (elder S has a slack line) and one of the missionaries had to cross it, and he had two missionaries there at the start (representing the missionaries that taught the investigator) but they couldn`t move. So, the other missionaries spread out, representing members, and helped the one crossing get to the other side. It was pretty cool!
Anyway, the Slack Line way basically the Straight and Narrow way (3 Nephi 27:33) and we showed how important it was for an investigator to have friends in the church. Many people have been asking me why it is necessary that a church even exists, and with all of those thoughts and this activity, it makes me think about Elder Christofferson`s talk in this past conference, especially when he says :Repentance is individual, but fellowship on that sometimes painful path is in the church.

We have been working with a lot of great families, who want to be baptized and be members, but have to overcome some pretty big challenges, legal things or mental things, and so we need to keep working with help and help them develop their faith so it waxes strong, so they can have that confidence to move forward in Christ and follow his example. We are also striving to find more people to teach, and I know we are going to have a great week.

Hey did you tell the Oklahoma Missionary all of that? Man he can count on us to sing him a good phrase or too about his good uncle when he`s teaching about the plan of salvation he could say "Poor Judd is dead, body and spirit separated, he will go to the spirit world to rest...until he resurrects!" (Not as good because I don`t remember the song as well, wasn`t my favorite.)

I love you all!

Elder Garner

Saturday, March 5, 2016

2016.02.22 Huasteca

Dear mom,

I think I had a pretty productive week too. let`s see if it annoys elder s if I say what I type while I type. (the desired laugh from Elder S was accomplished.)

You know I always say where do I start, because there is a lot of stuff that happens, but obviously I don`t have enough time to share...wait hold up I can totally use a scripture to tell you...

3 Nephi 26: 6  And  now  there  cannot  be  written  in  this (email)   even  a  hundredth  part  of  the  things  which  (Elder Garner)  did  truly  teach  unto  the  people;

hahahaha SCRIPTURE POWER! So in this week we actually had a lot of success, us in our area, and the whole zone. the zone we are in is really great, the whole place has a lot of potential, that has not been achieved in quite a while, but this change a lot of great missionaries came here with me, and they are working very hard, and very well. They are finding people who are ready to recieve the gospel and follow the example of Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism.

Here in Huasteca, we had a super great week. It was the first week in my whole mission where we had more lessons with investigators with members, than lessons without members present! The members here are helping us a lot with teaching the investigators, supporting them, helping them complete their commitments, and go to church. We had eight investigators in sacrament meeting yesterday, and I really just feel tha the Lord is pouring his spirit over the people in this area! One of the families that came really called my attention, and we have started to teach them eagerly. we are actually going to visit them today in the evening. The father is a member, a returned missionary from a while back, and all of his children are members, but his wife isn`t, and they actually aren`t spouses because they aren`t married. He hasn`t been to church in a long time, and this week we had gone to visit them after one of our lessons had fell through, and they were home. Elder S commented "this is the second time I`ve seen him, in all my time in this area." We were invited inside, adn began to talk. The parents mentioned that they had been talking for a couple of days, right before we had come, and they had come to the decision that it was time to return to the church, to get married ,and for the mom to get baptized. Wow! Well I guess the Lord had been preparing them, and he sent us at the right time when they were ready. She has to actualy get divorced from someone else before she can get married to her spouse, so that does make a set back, but they seem very determined, and they had the support of the ward right behind them. Elder S told me that there was a lawyer in our ward, so that shoud help. At church yesterday they seemed pretty pleasant, their kids were pretty quiet too, and I talked with the wife and said "I imagine that you were pretty happy in the sacrament meeting because your boys didn`t make a lot of fuss, that`s when my mom was happiest, when my brother and I weren`t fighting or making noise." I bet it`s a pretty quiet pew fer yew ma`.

Hey that`s pretty swell that you got the apartment. Hey I forgot to tell you last week, when you see the new missionary feel free to send my regards with a giant "oooooOOOOOOOOKLAHOMA!!!!" Does their mission president give them permission to wake up to the song "Oh what a beautiful morning"? or when they run out of gas does he shout "It`s a scandal! It`s an outrage!" and then his companion says "Well that`s about as far as it can go, yea that`s about as far as it can go!" and then when they aren`t having the best time with the members they can sing "Oh the members and the elders should be friends! oh the members and the elders should be friends! the members want there kids endowed, the elders want to baptize now, that`s no reason why they can`t be friends!" People in the ward should stick together, members in the ward should all be pals, the youth can dance with the bishop`s daughters, the elders won`t dance with the YSA gals!"

But I do want to invite you all to work with the missionaries. Since the work is pressing on here in the Huasteca ward, I would like to invite you all to hasten the work in the Robles ward. Invite people over for dinner with the missionaries so they can share a message with them, invite the people you`re meeting to church, lend service to all you see. I`ll keep going and do the best I can, but I need you guys to help and give me a hand.

I love you guys!

Elder Garner