Honduras San Pedro East Mission

Sunday, March 19, 2017

6 Months Out! 3/13/17

Hey Everybody,
 Today is officially 6 months. It's gone by fast and I'm blessed to be out here working in the vineyard of the Lord. This week not much happened, we had a zone meeting and divisions with the ZL which was pretty fun. I was in their area, and we left the house to our first appointment of the day. We pass this guy at a bus stop, and he comes up behind us, puts his arms around our shoulders, and starts asking some questions. I didn't know it at the time, but he has robbed the missionaries before. 
So the first thing he asks is, the Lord walks with you guys right? 
 We said yeah, the Lord is with us, why? 
Good, then I'm going to walk with you guys for a little.
Well actually, we aren't going on this street. We're going over there.( we actually were going on the street, but we were the only people on that street, so we had to change our plans to avoid being alone with him.)
No, you're here, on this street. let's go.
Nope, sorry we're going this way
Why are you scared? Why are you scared of me? The Lord is with you right?
(now this guy, with him you could feel something pretty evil. I was thinking, yah, the Lord is with us, but he's not with you right now, so we aren't going anywhere with you.)
I'm not scared, I'm just going a different way.
Fine. do you have any money so I can buy a soda? Will you buy me a soda?
Nope sorry, don't have anything, see you later.

So that's kinda how that conversation went with him. ha I actually was pretty scared, and i actually had kind of a lot of money but it turned out fine. he also asked me if I was new, and how he likes the new people here. So creepy haha. Elder Nielson, who I was with, gave him money the last he tried to haggle them so that why he skipped the other missionaries that passed a few minutes earlier and waited for us. but last time he also had a machete so that's a pretty good reason haha. I'm glad he's not in my area haha.
Other than that I've been trying to get to know my new area, it's pretty big and we spend a lot of time walking. Last Monday I had a pretty high fever, so I took some medicine and checked my temperature again more than an hour later and it had gone up to 101!  I asked  my comp for a blessing and after than I didn't sleep pretty much the whole night but my fever went down and the next morning I was fine. A testimony of the power of the priesthood, since the medicine didn't help me at all and I was worse off after I took it. It is awesome to be out here experiencing how the spirit works in other people's lives and also my own. love you all
Elder Gardner

Hey Dad 
Sounds like a fun project going on. I wish I could be there to help, I miss doing stuff like that. I'm sure Joe Palmer would have let you use his tractor for a while  if you asked him. idk if it would be a help, just an idea haha. Mom sent a few pictures of it and its looks like its coming pretty good! things are pretty good here, O had interviews with Pres this week. mine was only 6 minutes long. that was kind of sad since it was an hour and a half bus ride to get there, but I guess that's a good thing if he doesn't have a lot to talk about with me. My companion is super nice, but he likes to argue about the dumbest things and he just keeps bringing it up later. kind of annoying but I can live with it. most of the time I just ignore it like I did with dallin haha. 6 months has gone by fast, it's weird really. My spanish is alright, some of the other guys who were about the same as me when we started together have progressed a lot more than me. I think it's because my trainer never talked to me in the streets or anything, pretty much the only time I talked was in the lessons. but I'm seeing lots of progress now and I just got to keep trying. ha last monday I ended the night with a 99 fever, I took some medicine and checked my temp more than an hour later and it was 101. that was kind of scary so i asked my comp for a blessing.  I didn't really sleep the whole night, but about 2 in the morning my fever was gone. so that was cool to see blessings work and I've been fine since. 
love you dad wish I could help with the project!

Hi Mom
The new area is super big and pretty much  just walking all day. pretty much the same schedule as before but this week we had lots of meetings in progreso, which is an hour and a half bus ride away. and we have another this week. also my and my comp spent a little time sick, for me just headaches from the sun i think. yes there is a temple here, in Tegucigalpa but its pretty far so we don't get to go. ever. so pretty much I brought my temple bag and stuff just for it to take up room in my luggage haha. oh well. dont forget about my taxes, I should have a little from last year. I wrote dad a little about some things, I'm sure he shares it with you. love you mom, sounds crazy at home as always

New Area 3/6/17

Hey Everybody,
So I was transferred this week to Tela! Its pretty much a beach town and super relaxed here.The weather is awesome, even when the sun is hot we have a nice sea breeze blowing. So much better here than in San Pedro Sula. My new companion is Elder Baede. He lives here in Honduras, and his house is only about an hour area from here haha. He has dual residency though and was born in the US. He's a super nice guy and it's great to be working with him.This week I said goodbye to the people of my old area, and then pretty much have been sick since. I have some kind of flu or something and the enfermera tells me to do something different each time I call so it's been pretty fun . The pharmacias here  will sell you anything, it's funny since all the medicine says sold only under a prescription but you just walk in and say hey I need this many of this and they say ok here you go buddy. haha. So a funny story this week is we were with an investigator and I was getting to know them so I start by asking their names. An older guy left the room so I asked what I thought was his daughter, hey what's your dad's name? She looks at me and says, that's not my dad, that's my husband. hahahahah she is 19 and he is older than 50. so that was pretty weird, but I just thought I didn't understand what she was trying to say until I asked my companion after. Even crazier is they have a child,  I don't know what's up with some of the people here haha. ANother thing is one of the leaders of a gang here told us that if anyone robs us or anything, to let him know and he will kill them. haha ok, like you don't need to kill anyone but it's kinda reassuring to know that we are safe in this area and that they got our back haha. Anyways I hope you guys are all doing better than me haha, hopefully this week I can recover completely.
Elder Gardner
some pictures at the beach! we can hear the ocean from our house, so yeah if there's a tsunami or something ...dont know haha

Hey Mom
This area is super cool. The weather here is beautiful, way better than my old area. My new comp is super nice and helped me a lot this week while I was sick. I had a huge boil right over my eye, it was super painful and it was pretty hard to even sleep so I didn't get a lot done this past week. I took care of it and now it's a lot better haha sounds crazy with the fam as always, sending prayers your way.love you mom !

Hi Dad, things are pretty good here. I've been pretty sick but otherwise my new comp is super nice and said he's been praying for a comp like me after being with several of the worst in the mission. The weather here has been great this week, super nice sea breeze and some rain and clouds. It's an awesome area haha. Even though we can't really do a lot at the beach it's cool to have it here. love you dad,  sounds like a lot of work with the driveway, good luck. the hoa is pretty dumb times haha/ love you dad

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ya me voy! 2/27/17 On to area 2 Tela in Progresso Zone

 ya me voy!
 Another week past and gone! I'm getting transferred to Tela in zona Progreso! Supposedly it's more of a tourist spot and mainly contacting, so it should be a fun transfer. A good learning opportunity anyways. I'm pretty sad to leave this area, were having so much progress here right now and lots of great members. Anyways Wednesday morning I leave here. Yeah should be good. Excited for a change of things though, supposedly pdays are a lot more fun there. And also its a little cooler of an area than here, we're coming up on the hottest part of the year when its 115 f and no one has ac. so yeah. I've been  kind of sick this week but I'm getting better now. Something cool that happened this week is we were contacting, and its kinda cool you just kinda know things about a street or a person.We were on a street and I knew that a Jehovahs witness lived there. I didn't know which house or anything, but sure enough the first house was a jw. Lots of other just small things that have happened this week.. its cool to be at the front line of miracles and changes in peoples lives. 
have a good week and be safe everybody.
Elder Gardner

hi dad things are going pretty good. things are busy here. we have a baptism on saturday, but I wont be here for it. unless she wants me to baptize her, then I might be able to come. idk. I miss you dad and hope that things are going good. that's fun to have the family together, even though its for a sad reason. I'll be spending tonight and tomorrow just saying goodbyes to everyone in this area. pretty sad for this but excited to know a new area. love you dad and miss you

hi mom things are good. I'm pretty sad to leave here. I've been pretty tired lately even though I sleep good and everything. I'm going to the beach in Tela! should be fun for awhile, but also a little scared.  the bishop in our ward  makes custom ctr rings for pretty much all the missionaries and lots of other people. I ordered one of an anchor! the first one of an anchor hes done, so pretty cool. he also makes bags and cases and i bought one too, hes not done making yet but hopefully before I  leave. anyways miss you and love you. on my ring also the inside is stamped my name, but its spelled wrong. kind of sad about that but it's my fault for not checking exactly what he had written down before I said it was good. but it's only about 20 dollars for the ring and super cool to have something one of a kind, I'll probably buy one or 2 much later. the scripture on it is Ether 12.4 which talks about faith as an anchor. so it's super cool anyways. love you mom

Week 5.25 2/20/17

2/20/17 Week 5.25
This week was pretty good. we had the dad a nonmember  but his family is all members. anyways  before he's always been nice with us but avoided religion. My comp starts talking with him and he starts getting so mad about he thinks religion is a joke and his whole body was just completely shaking. it was crazy and it ended with him yelling at my comp some bad names and for us to never come back. he apologized to me, since we had always been on good terms before. kind of crazy but alright, mainly more sad for his family, who weren't at church on sunday and i dont think he will let them go for a while. some people just have very hard hearts and just need time to accept the gospel. we also blessed a home that had some kind of spirit in it, and some weird things happening at night. that was a cool experience. I cant remember what else happened, somthing cool i know but maybe next week. anyways its been a good week, maybe I'll have transfers next week but we will see.
Elder Gardner

Hey dad this week was good. working with les actives and people with non members in the family. we have 2 baptism for march so far but I might be transferred next week. either way I'm good, but I'd rather stay here in this area for a little longer. The members here are great  despite all the weird things that happen here.
 i miss you and love you dad. Thats cool that Ben won,
(Ben won Science Fair for 5th grade class with Pencil Resistor that Wes helped with)
 yes it is always better to talk things in person haha. I'm glad that turned out good for now anyways. this week passed fast. love you dad
hi mom, good week here. no the people here aren't that poor, they have enough to have hard hearts haha.  They don't have a lot but they have what they need. most people work just to pay for food for their families, living in houses made of pallets and wood with tin roofs.  hard to describe the money situation here,  its complex but there is poverty everywhere for sure. They live in poverty but don't know it.  
(We went to an empanada restaurant with Hargraves that served fried plantains that I didn't like but Wes did)
haha that's funny about the plantains, we eat those everyday here and I love them. here they are called tajetas . usually with beans and rice and some kind of meat. normal banana fried is super good too. we eat lots of the banana in general, mainly plantain. here it's all just banana haha so kind of hard to know for sure what we are getting. but enough about banana!
for Jaroms phone try connecting it to a computer and just reading the memory that way if you havent figured it out yet.
 ha I wish it would rain here, it's starting to get pretty hot and no one has ac here, only the barber shop, and the bishops and secretaries offices in the church have ac.  It's only supposed to get hotter and hotter though, I need to buy a temp somewhere so i know in fahrenheit what the temp is. in April it's supposed to get to 46 degrees celsius . yeah not looking forward to that haha.
 well what's not to be grateful for? that saying that you don't know what you have, until you don't have it is true haha. everything is different here but it is what it is. 
also I'm sending some letters, I've been trying to send them for a few weeks but the meetings and mail schedule have all been whack.

love you mom and miss you, hope the family is doing good and things will work out. I don't like being in the learning process of spanish, I wish I could just know it. Lots of people don't understand me due to bad grammar and pronunciation and it's a little frustrating to have 5 months here and not know it very good. the members always compare to other missionaries like oh he was talking fluent after just 1 month here.. like ok  but I'm not him, I'm me and so I just have to keep trying my best. so yeah thats one thing that's hard. anyways love you and miss you all

Doing Well at 5 months out 2/13/17

Well its been another week past and gone. We've made lots of good connections with people in the ward and are working on gaining trust.This week we had our zone conference with Presidemt Carlisle, about the new changes in our daily schedule and also about the new focus for the mission, teach repentance and baptize. A great meeting, followed up this morning by a meeting with our entire mission, and the mission of san pedro west, with Elder Christianson and Elder Alonzo. Close to 300 missionaries.  I guess last year this mission had a lot of problems and elder alonzo spent the whole time chewing them out and sent about 50 missionaries home. The story is he looked everyone in the eyes and either took their plaque off and put it in a sack, or shook their hand. But today it was a great meeting and a special experience to be able to shake their hands and receive personal instruction from them. 
We lost most of our investigators, but its ok. Our job is only to invite, the decision is theirs. They need to gain a testimony, as my comp says they need to be converted, not convinced. We also get an hour to write now instead of 30 minutes so hopefully i can start sharing more stories and things with you guys. and also responding to emails hopefully. Anyways its going good here and I have progressed a lot in my spanish and in general. Also don't feel obligated to but if anyone wants to send me a hand letter that would be awesome, shout out to Bro Moyes for being the first of my mission a few weeks ago haha. I don't know if they will make it through the mail, some that my family sent 2 months ago never showed up. Honduran mail is sketchy. Today is my 5 month mark, it sure has gone fast, but great. Its awesome to be here with these people and I will be very sad when I leave this area. 
Elder Gardner
this picture is of this morning with all my buddies from the CCM, good times with these guys with more to come.

heres the mailing address

12 Calle, Avenida Circunvalacion, S.O.
Edif. Yude Canahuati, 3 Nivel, Oficina 4
San Pedro Sula, Cort├ęs

Hey Mom sounds crazy. haha I had to teach elders quorum this week but it went pretty great, I just split everyone into groups and divided up the lesson, so for a  40 minute class I only had to talk for maybe 5 minutes haha. but the language is going a lot better now since I hit kind of a breakthrough with understanding. That is sad news for me about Brennen, just 6 months longer that I won't get to see him. 
(Brennen got a scholarship to ASU and has to do at least 1 semester before they will defer it)
I miss you guys a lot but we have been busy here. My companion likes to talk and has made lots of connections with people who before didn't really have an interest. We've been working with menos activos and our recent converts, members who have nonmembers living in the home. a super cool week, we had a meeting today with elder Christianson and Elder Alonzo of the 70. We all got to shake their hands so that was awesome. My old comp was really good, we just had some bad relations and connections in the ward that made it hard for me I think. but we've fixed everything now. I miss you guys. ha just a reminder that you don't know what you have until it's gone. I miss all the things I used to do in my free time and with work and all. But it's ok, I will return in only 19 short months haha! love you and happy valentines day, I didn't even think about that until now. Time is weird in the mission. love you!

Hey Dad     It's going good here, glad to hear its pretty much the same at home. We get an hour to write now!! so I'll either finish this transfer for 2 weeks and then get changed, or have another transfer here. but my time in this area is almost up. Most of the missionaries are in La Lima, Progresso,  and San Pedro area basically, but there's a few zones farther out in the boonies. in Olanchito , Trujillo, and some others.
 All the missionaries don't like my comp and feel sorry for me haha. He has some flaws but in the work itself he is a good worker so I can live with him for now. haha. We get along pretty good anyways. he and his family are lifelong members. he has 11 siblings, his parents split and had more kids. He supposedly was a pro soccer player but had an injury when he was deciding to serve a mission or to play.  I don't know what he tells is true, others have told me not to believe any of the stories he tells. I don't know what he wants to do for school, I don't understand the careers in spanish haha. but things are going good here. ha I wish I could work out here, we only have our small apartment. Tell Brennen he can have and use my creatine in the pantry if he wants it, just to research it before he starts using it so he can use it safely. 5 months has gone fast for sure dad. I think with my new comp I hit the breakthrough for understanding, and now I understand probably 80 percent of what people say. 70 or 80. love you and miss you pops.

Great Week 2/6/17

Prayers of a Momma and Dad are answered.
Elder Josh with new companion Elder Vera from Ecuador

Hey everybody it's been a great week here in Honduras. I have a new comp, Elder Vera, from Ecuador! My trainer is the new secretary of migration, so he is being trained for a few weeks before he actually starts. Anyways he is helping me a lot with my spanish and everything  and it's great to be here. This week we helped a member build part of a house he's building a house for his son, because the most expensive part is the labor. So he told his son if he bought the material he would build the house for him. The people here don't have a lot, but they have enough. We did splits, me with 6 kids from primary. It was a great activity for the kids to see what it's like being a missionary and try to do it themselves a little. Anyways things are going great here and every day is a blessing for sure.
Love Elder Gardner

Hey Mom, things are going great here. I got a new comp, He is great. He is helping me a lot with my spanish and everything. We got a ton done this week and he likes to work. its great to be working with him and actually showing him the area was super easy  .a lot of the other missionaries have told me he's one of the worst in the mission and all kinds of bad things about him, but right now he's great we work together great and hes also a great friend. I can feel your prayers working and i feel a  lot more confident with everything that im doing here. love you mom  maybe I'll write a general email today since I have some time right now. love you!

Hey Dad, the weather here isn't bad either but its about to be the worst part of the year in April, so not looking forward to that. ha I need to do more exercise too, I've gained 10 pounds here.It's just hard since we get so much food and my new comp secured dinners for the whole week. My new comp is Elder Vera from Ecuador, I told mom a little about him but he is helping me a ton and is a huge blessing to me right now. with my spanish and with the work. Things are truly great here dad and even though the days are super long and  its a long time before I see you guys again, I know that this is where I'm supposed to be and I'm startomg to like it a lot more. love you dad praying for everything to work out, thanks for all your prayers they are definitely working. love you dad!

Josh is 20! 1/30/17

It is hard as a Mom to have your son so far away and his first birthday not celebrated at home with quite the usual festivities I like to do to make them feel special.  I know he'll be blessed but sometimes growing experiences are hard to hear as a Momma.  He didn't ever receive the letters we sent before Christmas by SLC pouch mail for his birthday.
This is what Josh wrote to everyone this week:
Kind of a boring birthday, but we have some good investigators. The work is going good here. this was a cake and the fam that threw a little party for me. Love you guys and miss you.

Love, Elder Gardner

Hey Dad   Thanks for writing, sounds crazy as always. It was a pretty boring a sad birthday for me, mainly cause I was missing everyone.  A family in a different area came and threw a little party for me so that was fun, but really about it, for celebrating. This week a less active family that we found is making dinner for me too, cool that we found them because no one from the church has visited them in 6 years! but they loved the missionaries  then and still do now haha. our mission president knows that our bishop has lots of problems, and so does the stake president. this ward is super weird to work in, most of the ward is inactive because of something the Bishop has sad or done to them. super weird, this area used to be 2 areas but the attendance to church dropped so low that now its only 1 big area for us. It is a challenge but hopefully I only have maybe 10 more weeks here or so. oh so we had the world wide training missionary broadcast and they changed a few things. now we only have 4 key indicators, new investigators, inv.with a bap, date,  inv, bap and con,  and invs in sacrament meeting. they also changed our daily schedule a bit which is good. I've been having some anxiety during planning and  when our visits fall short and we don't know what to do. It's hard but I'm just trying to work on one thing at a time now and I know the Lord will help me. love you dad and miss you
hey mom love you. another hard week and a hard birthday but its ok. I know that Sis Carlisle is watching your facebook  cause President mentioned some things to me about it haha. Sounds crazy as always at the house! love you and miss you all

End of January

January was rough for Josh.  He didn't write much to everyone and I'll share a little of his thoughts to us.

1/23/17 hey dad, sounds crazy as usual. This week started out super hard and I felt completely overwhelmed. 
( He got to meet with President Carlisle)
 Im doing some of the things he suggested and this week turned out to be the best one of my mission yet. I feel a lot more focused and able to do this, able to learn spanish, everything. It is amazing how fast time flies, at the end of this change I will have 6 months and be a quarter done. A good reminder to me to stay focused on the work and try to do everything I can because it really doesn't last long. love you dad  my birthday should be pretty good, I don't know who's going to feed me yet but we have a few families that I'm sure will do something. Love you dad and it is great to be out here. yes I am getting enough sleep, the mp3 helps great and so do the earplugs. my comp and I are connecting a lot better now and things just are great! love you dad have a great week!

love you mom thanks! I'm glad things are working out. I told dad how this week was, started really hard but turned to be the best week yet. love you and thanks for the birthday wishes!