week 11:

Eyes to See

This week was the happiest Ive had so far I think :)! I love being in a trio with Hermana Bond and Hermana Lara. We are having so much fun together! So many random and hilsrious things happen every day and I wish I could just describe in detail every single moment we have, both of laughter and feeling the Spirit and power of the Lord with us in this work. Its quite incredible. I am not sure that anything has changed much about our situation to make me feel so much happier like I feel now. I was thinking about it and I realized that we dont have any more investigators and the work is the same. There are still some long days and moments of discouragement for sure. But my companions and I lift each other up, we help each other stay positive and grateful and make each other laugh :) I feel so grateful to have both of them with me on this adventure .I loved Elder Causse´s talk in conference where he said: Its not in finding new landscape but in having new eyes.¨ There were so many talks on PERSPECTIVE and seeing with the right eyes, being able to recognize God´s hand in our lives. I loved it so much!!! 

WASNT CONFERENCE AWESOME?! aw i could hardly believe the things I felt and learned. Here are some of my favorites that I really liked:

¨The church is like a big hospital and we´re all sick in our own way. God also expects us to love and lift and tolerate others who are learning in their own way.¨ Elder Renlund

¨A SAINT is a SINNER that KEEPS ON TRYING.¨ - also Elder Renlund
oh how true and wonderful this is. I love it. 

¨Living the Gospel is not a burden.¨
It is a contintual adventure where we are enlightened and loved and taught! Its so beautiful and happy :)!!! I LOVE IT. 

There was an earthquake on Tuesday! It was the weirdest thing! But we are all ok, haha! it was nothing too crazy, kindof cool actually. 

I ate chuncks of cow heart on a skewer so that was cool. haha! (ew!)

Sorry this is all, my companions are waiting for me! Were going to go try to find a delicious place that sells burritos for lunch! (burritos dont exist in Lima so this is going to be special). 

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! Thank you for loving me and supporting me and for every single email you send. 

SHLYNNY AND THE CATS! I got your package! and the necklace is BEAUTIFUL! oh my gosh i was so touched, thnak you sooo soo much. How lucky i am to have you guys.

until next week!!!
paz y amor
 Hermana Gardner

week 10:

3 MONTHS!!! 3 MONTHS!!! 3 MONTHS!!! 
Hello!!!! Hermana Gardner here!!! 

We had a good week here in San Juan with our new companionship de tres!! Its fun to have Hermana Bond with us, she is the biggest sweettheart and I REALLY love her and am learning so much from her too. 

Update on investigators:

The saddest thing happened on Thursday when the husband of Flor (one of our BEST investigators who I LOVE) called us and ranted about how we must stop ¨bothering¨ her. He asked us to not stop by anymore and to stop teaching her. ughhh it was so sad. Flor is so sweet and so genuine in her desire to learn about the gospel. She really wanted to get baptized. But her husband is so against it, so we´ll have to leave her for a time. Im praying that something will change later down the road because I know we found her for a reason. 

-This week we found a girl named Yanet! and also a girl named Natalie and the cutest old man named Segundo. :) A lady we found named Vanessa has been less active almost her whole life but we found her and have been teaching her and she came to church on sunday! It was a miracle. Our investigators Luis and Piero are progressing and its so great to see people that really want to come unto Christ and change their lives. The best thing was probably our lesson with Piero because he has changed so much. He has been taking the missionary lessons for over a year and sometimes he is interested and sometimes his progress is slower. But I think he is really coming close! He was so happy in our lesson yesterday, it was great to see. His baptismal date is April 26 so we´ll see how it goes :) #prayforpiero

Typical Tessa:

Saturday we were strolling through the park thats in our area, and there was a cute old man feeding a little flock of pigeons. (the pigeons are EVERYWHERE. my companion also really likes to feed them for some reason haha.) So I stopped to talk to this man. What I intended to say was ¨Good Afternoon! We like feeding the pigeons too!¨ but instead it came out like ¨We also eat the pigeons!¨ 
My companions thought it was pretty hilarious :) hahahahaha oh dear, this Spanish of mine. Its progressing slowly but surely though!!!

Special Announcement¨
GENERAL CONFERNECE THIS WEEKEND!!!!! AHHHH!!!!! I can hardly wait!!! We got to watch the womans session on saturday and it was THEEEE best. Especially President Eyring´s talk.Just a little sneak peak in preparation for this weekend. :) Pleae watch it conference with me! I promise that is you really listen you will hear things that will lift you and strengthen you and help you with anything you are struggling with right now. andddddd our family can be somehow connected in watching it all together even though im so far away!! Ill be thinking of you guys :) 

If you have any questions feel free to ask me and Ill try to answer them in my weekly emails! Taylor Jones--ill answer your questions next week!! :) 

Quote this week:
Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved.

hermana gardner

week 9:

Keep Christ Close

Wow what a week!!! Oh my goodness. So much to say, so little time!!! One hour of internet feels more like minutes, and we also have to write our President and send weekly goals and all that stuff. cray cray.
Yesterday we had cambiooosssss!!! I wasnt expecting anything to change because I am in training...and also on saturday they called us and just told us that yeah, we were going to stay where we were, both me and my companion. So we were like, sweet!!! 
But then Monday morning we were walking down the street to go running, at like 6:45 and these other hermanas came walking toward us and informed us that actually there had been a mistake made, and that there was an Hermana coming to our zone and she was going to join our companionship! We were both like, um are you serious?? But yeah, it was true!!! So now I am in a trio! Me, Hermana Lara, and the cutest thing ever....shes named Hermana Bond... literally a blessing sent from Heaven. Its only been one day but I can totally tell that she is going to teach me so much and become one of my best friends. Homestly! She is sooooooo cute!! Shes been out over a year. She is a little tiny barbie doll with long blonde hair, from West Jordan Utah!! I seriously love her so much already! Sooooo  here we go onto transfer numero 2!!!! (Yayyyy i got one transfer under my belt and they say it just keeps getting better!) 

Besides that, soooo many other great thnigs happened this past week. We had LOTS of lessons and did a lot of searching and finding and talking to peopl, to try to find people that are prepared to learn about the wonderful message of the Gospel. With every lesson i teach, I learn more about the power of the Spirit. I learn more about how the gospel really is GOOD NEWS. That it is about HOPE. That it is about healing and love and that our Savior Jesus Christ has that power to help us and lift us above our own weaknesses, limitations, and sorrows. Its impossible to describe the feelings I experience at times as I sit in lessons with people and testify of Jesus Christ. As I teach people the good news that they truly are loved and known by our God, who is their Padre Celestial, who loves and knows them. Probaby the most humbling thing is that I get to teach people how to say a prayer. I am sooo blown away that literally every person we teach who is not already a member of our church, does not know the blessing of being able to pray and talk to and have a real conversation with their Father in Heaven. It is amazing, and so humbling to be able to share with them this special opportunity that so often we take for granted as members of the church.

On Saturday, missionaries from the CCM came to our area and we got to go out and teach with them so they could see how it is out here in the real world of missionary work! Soooo that meant that I was assigned to two missinaries from the CCM and my companion with two others, and we split up and went and tried to find people to teach! hah can you imagine me, having only 6 weeks going out into the crazy city of Lima with 2 other gringa girls who know even less spanish than me, trying to have conversations with people and teach them about the gospel?! haha! it was rather funny but we had success!!!!! I swear to you that the Lord guides this work and is WITH HIS MISSIONARIES!!! That power is real. I see it every day.

Peruvian Cultural fact:¨
Instead of having a pizza man that delivers via automobile, there are men that drive around on motorcycles with a box somehow strapped to the back, delivering peoples favorite thing in Peru: chicken. 
i find it rather funny for some reason :)

Quote of the week:
As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I give you a blessing that as you incline your hearts and minds to the Savior, He will surely lift you and strengthen you. He will visit you with knowledge, peace, and courage. He will lighten your sorrows and your load. He will bless your family at home, even your extended family. He will take care of you and the things you worry about. He will prepare the way before you and send His angels to surround and uphold you. He will help you to overcome fear. He will help you rise up and become even greater men and woman of God.
President Uchtdorf

Oh how i love and cling to every word of this.  I FEEL of its truth. I know it is a real promise that applies to every missionary as well as each one of us as His children and disciples.

I love this work and i love my testimony. Miracles happen and peace is found when we keep Christ close.

until next week!
muchooooo amor!
you are in my prayers, 

Hermana Gardner

week 8:

oh how i love you guys. lets just make that clear. 

This week was good! We are working and progressing little by little in our area every day, and Hermana Lara and I are staying positive even when the days are long and nobody wants to listen to us..hahaha but what an adventure it is to be here, thats how im trying to see it!

Monday- We had a Pday with all the Hermanas in Lima. (the north part of the mission) to celebrate Caraval, a cultural thing they do here through the month of February where they throw water on each other...sounds kinda weird. haha butit was pretty much just a huge water balloon fight! ha! so that was a good time. 

Tues we had a lesson with a new investigator! Luis! he was a reference from another hermano that we are teaching, Juan Carlos. It was GREAT! Luis is so genuine and interested in learning about the church, he has a lot of faith. Seriously. it feels so good to teach people that are so prepared. 
Later we had lessons with 2 of our less active members that we are helping, Segundo and Yoselin. They are both progressing and both came to church yesterday! yay! Sundays are the best when people actually keep their commitments to come to the capilla :) it makes all our efforts worth it.

Wednesday we had a zone conference and a bunchhhh of lessons in family history. Its so great to be able to teach these recent converts about the work we do in the temple and help them start their family trees and bring their family names to the temple to be baptized. I love it!! Im so happy I get to be one of the few that is doing this. 

Thursday we went to the temple with a group of converts so they could do their baptisms. Later we had a lesson with one of our investigators, Piero! Piero is 22. He has been learning from the missionaries for quite a while but were ust taking it little by little and trying to teach him. He has a lot of questions so its cool to sit and talk with him and explain more. He works for some restaurant or something and he brought home a little sample of this delicious dessert thing! Its called lucuma or something. It was yummy. 

Friday we searched for a list of less active members and were able to find a man named Ezequiel. He is very old and sick and hadnt been to church in years. It was so sad because he was so heartbroken and felt so alone. He couldnt talk or move much because he was so sick. But we got to sit with him and remind him that His Heavenly Father loves him and is aware of him. We sang a hymn to him and reminded him how to pray (he had forgotten.) His wife isnt a member but she was so sweet. She was so worried and sad about her poor husband....we told her we would keep coming to visit and talk with him because, like my companion said ¨God doesnt forget any of his children.¨
This phrase touched my heart. Ive been thinking about it all week since then. ¨God doesnt forget any of his children.¨ He remembers them and knows them, Each one. He knew that this little old sick man on some random dirty street in the south of Lima Peru had a heart that was hurting. But he guided us two teenage girls, to his house, to find himj and sit with him and remind him that he is loved and known and not forgotten by His Heavenly Father. It was lo maximo. (the best). It made me feel so good inside...These are the momnets I came here for. 

The Lord heals one by one. We help people,uno por uno. It takes patience and it takes time and it takes a lot of love to keep working and searching everyday for people that heavenly Father needs to send us to. But uno por uno, we are helping them on their way. What a blessing it is to be here and be a part of His work.

Saturday a MIRACLE happened. Ive been praying that heavenly Father will help us find new investigators to teach in our area. We talk and talk and talk to so many random people on the street every day but it seems so hard to find people that actually live in our area of proselyting! BUT!! Today we were walking up this street and there was a young mom just standing there with her little daughter so I decided to talk to her. And we ended up having a lesson with her right there in front of her house and then an even bigger miracle happened.... 

Sunday: SHE CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!!! Wooooooooo!!!!! Yay!!!!! Im so excited to keep teaching her. Her name is Flor and she has the CUTEST 3 year old daughter, Ariana with curly hair...adorable. Pray for them :)

Other Miracles:
Okay so we have the nicest Bishop in our ward and his awesome family invited us to lunch yesterday. Im always a little scared to eat with members cause i dont know what theyre gonna feed us...and yesterday the day came. It came. We sat down to eat and on my plate was the biggest pile of LETTUCE and vegatables and some kind of mystery meat. ÖHHH KNOW, i thought.  SALAD!!! So guess what i did, the only thing I knew to do which was to pray. Pray that I would be able to eat the lettuce without gagging!! hahahah! (those who know me know that I cannot for the life of me eat salad because lettuce is the grossest food on earth besides fish.) But guess what?! I kid you not that I was able to eat that salad! I ate the lettuce! and I hardly tasted it!!!! The taste was covered up by the flavor of the potatoes and carrots and salty meat. But im so serious that it was nothing short of a tender mercy. I was so thankful! hahahaha! YAY!!! I ate lettuce!!!! what a miracle. 

Quotes this week:
Start each day with a grateful heart.

All we have to do is listen.
WOW I am learning so much about simply Listening. Life requires more listening I am realizing. Listening to other people. Listening to our hearts. Listening to the Lord. My mission president gave this advice on our first day, ¨You only need to speak very little. Dont let the simplicity and light of your words get lost in too many words.¨ I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. It really is about listening to what people say, trying to let them know you want to understand. Also, I am really learning how to PRAY. I realized that I think I talk to much in my prayers. I feel MUCH more peace and love from Heavenly Father when I just stop talking for a bit and listen to the peace he is sending. I LOVE the Holy Ghost! Let me tell you. It is my best friend here. I watched a video by Elder Christopherson called ¨Daily Bread.¨ I need you each to go find it and watch it because it is to a T what I am learning. :)

By Small and simple things are great things brought to pass. 

By losing ourselves, we find ourselves. Wow. Im really learning that the more love I have to give away, the more happiness i get in return. Everyone always said this but its not till now while im actually doing it that I feel it is true :)

Okay so our mission is cracking down on the latino missionaries trying to help them learn English. haha they hate it but its the BEST because they came up with a rule that when we are in our apartment, we can only speak english!!! wooo!!! SO im teaching Hermana Lara english and its the funniest thing ever. Now I dont feel so bad for saying dumb things all the time in Spanish and now she can feel a bit of my pain!!! hahaha! She is so cute. The other day we.re walking home and it had been a lonnnngg afternoon of trying to contact people and talk to people and all of our appointmnets fell through (the people wernt home) and nobody on the street wanted to listen to us...so were walking and Hermana Lara  reaches in her bag and says, ¨You want lollipop? Is good for sad¨ and she gave me a lollipop. :) hahah how cute she is. Also the other day I told her how pretty and long her hair is and then she replies in her cute spanish accent, ¨Thank you for your commentary.¨  hahahahah i was dying. we laugh alot at each others lack of language skills. I say a LOT of embaressing things in spanish. Most of the time if people are talking super fast and I dont understand them I just smile nod...Sometimes it works. Sometimes, it gets me in trouble. 

ALSO its the sweetest thing in the world when my investigators pray and pray for MY FAMILY. Specifically they pray for you guys. So just know that. :)

I love you all. Thank you for your love and support! Thank you for emailing me and praying for me. LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!!!!!!
till next week, Hermana G :)

week 7:

Family!!!! Que paso?!?

This week was a better one for me. Heres what went down:

Mon- PDAY...ok let me just make it clear that receicing emails and letters from people is the BEST PART OF MY WEEK. Seriously thank you so much for everyoene that takes time to send me just a few lines and words of love and advice and pictures, anything. I just love it. It lifts my spirits and helps me more than you know!!! thank you thank you. Sorry if I dont respond immediately but please know how much I appreciate it and love feeeling your love!!! special thanks last week to Heather Moseley, Romney, Carly, Courtney, Tjones and Zoe. also Micah and Jackson! yall are the BEST and i really feeel so much love and encouragement when I hear from you.

Tues- I got to go on exchanges with Hermana Rush! Shes the cutest girl from Mesa. that was awesome cause we got to speak english and shes een out over a year and gave me lots of advice and hope haha! It was fun.

Wed- We went to the mission office for a family history meeting and I was talking to this cute old lady whose name is Hna Lunt. She is an ANGEL. I think she was sent my Grandma Ann or maybe they were friends in the preexistance or something I dont know, but she just talked to me and loved me and it was soo needed. Also, she sent me a little package the other day with a kitkat bar in it and a little note of encouragement. I cried. BUTTT the best part of being in the office this day was that we were sitting there and Hna Lunt was like, ´Oh Hna Gardner, i think theres a package for you here¨ and im like ¨No i dont think so,Im not expecting anything.¨ and then she goes into this room and walks out and hands me a package with Moms handwriting and doodles all over it and I just held it in my arms and hugged it and cried!!!!!!!! IT WAS JUST WHAT I NEEDED!!!!!! I cant even tell you how much it meant to me to have that package of love from my family right in that moment. Literally i dont even remember Christmases where I felt so much JOY and peace and happiness. I opened it and saw all the valentines and notes from you guys and I felt so strengthened and comforted and lifted. It was the best thing ever. What a tender mercy. I carried the package home hugging it the whole way with a bug smile on my face. It made my heart so happy. THANK YOU:

Later this night, we taught our friend Segundo.He is going through a bit of a tough time returning to church. The adversary works hard on people when they try to do the right things. It was so heartbreaking to see tears run down this old mans face as he sat there with us and poured out his broken heart. But i shared with him my favorite scripture of this week (which everyone ought to go read cause its the best) D&C 6:33-37.... TEARS came. From the worn face of this discouraged mna. His faith being tried. His once hopeful happy excitement turned to doubt and being shot down. it was so heartbreaking to see. But seeing those tears run down his face from something so small that I was able to share, just this simple scripture, I felt  a joy and a LOVE inside me that surpasses every other feeling in this world. The love of a Heavenly Father who KNOWS us. individually. And to see him be so comforted and assured of this love, to see that he was feeling it oo...wow. Thats the power of the Holy Ghost, my friends. It works MILAGROS (miracles) in the hearts of men. It brings Gods love to the center of our souls., It heals us with warmth and love and truth.

 and I have felt it also being here.... My faith is being tried, but then it is also being stretched. I am coming to beleive in Heavenly Fathers existance and learn of his true nature more than I ever have. It feels so good to come to know him. To really feel Him there. You never kjnow how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have...equally I beleive that you never know how much faith you are capable of obtaining and growing, until having faith is the only choice you have. When I was in the MTC my companion told me, ¨When we cannot feel God near us, when we feel alone, it is his way of saying ¨come nearer to me...I need more of you, I need more of your trust.¨ and in return, we receive more of Him. More of His love. More of His light. More understanding of His nature as our loving Heavenly Father... :)

There are 2 little girls, probably about 8 or 9 on this one street, that chase after me every time they see me wanting to speak english with me. They even askes me, BEGGED ME, to sign my autograph. My companion says they think I am Hannah Montana. 

There are nasty dogs all over the place. I saw a naked hairless one the other day, it was gross. 

random picture of the street, and my kitchen. :) 

I love you Family!!!! You are my strength. Hearing from you gets me through the week and I know I can do it because I think of my team of cheerleaders at home, encouraging nme and sending love. :) 
thank you thank you!!!!!!! 

paz y amor,
Hermana G

week 6:

Hola de el campo misional!
Familia! Amigos! 
I finally left the CCM yesterday morning and got my first assignment!!! I stayed in Lima and am in an area called San Juan. My companion is Hermana Lara from Huancayo (an area of Peru way up in the mountains). She is a gosh darn sweetheart. I have been praying for her since before i met her and those prayers wre answered because she is seriously so patient with me and so so nice. She is super easygoing too which is great for me. 
OKAY so our assignment as a companionship is different from every other part of the mission because we do Family History and get to take new converts to the temple!!!! Its kindof like an experiment that the Church is trying out I think because its never really been done before. It so cool though!! Because the goal is to have all the new converts who have been baptized reach their goal of going to the temple and being sealed as families. Super cool! And we also teach classes on how to do family history so that these members can take names to the temple. We work on the family history part every Wednesday and Thursday and then every other day of the week we get to proselyte and teach in our area like normal. But every single Thursday we get to go to the temple with new members and be with them as they have that new experience!!! How cool right?!?! we are  the only ones in the mission that get to do this. Im pretty excited. I already love that this mission is so focused on FAMILIES... ETERNAL families. We also work ALOT with members of the church who have become less active, and try to bring them back. I have helpedteach in a few lessons already and I LOVE ITTTTTT. I can hardly say anything but what I CAN do is bear my testimony and teach basic gospel principles. And what else is more important? Thats what  I came here to do anyway :)
The area I am in is interesting. Walking around, it feels like a pretty poor area but i also dont really know what else to compare it to. Its like a really busy city but, LOTS of people. Youll walk into a shack made of bricks and cement with no windows, but then right next door it lokoks like a small beach front condo with nice cars parked in front...its so weird. Our apartment is nice for this area I think.. (again I dont know what to compare it to...haha) 
My companion and I are also the ONLY ones in probably the whole mission without a pensionista! someone who cooks for us! haha we are looking for one but right now, we just cook for ourselvesd in a little tiny room in our apartment. It is hardly a kitchen, but it does the job!! haha! There is a mini fridge and a fold out table with a portable stove thing on top with 2 burners. :) My cute companion made me the most delicious papas fritas this morning for breakfast!! She is known for making good peruvian food so im excited. Today we are going shopping for more food so that will be good cause I got nada ahora!!! haha perhaps some eggs, pollo, y granadillas!!! hahaha (have you googled a picture of that fruit yet?! I bet you still dont beleive that i eat it.) 
My spanish is frustrating me a bit but I just need to give it time. My companion is so funny cause she doesnt speak hardly ANY english except for a few random things. For example, yeterday we were walking down the street and she says ¨Necesito usar al baño...I gotta peee.¨I was laughing so hard!!! Ï-gotta-pee is the only thing i heard her say in english. I was dying. 
Im overall doing good. I sporatically break down and cry at the most random times though because it feels a little overwhelming with so much that is NEW and a bit scary. But its okay because a lot of the time when I cry I also laugh at the same time because i really am happy to be here.
I road in a moto-taxi today for the first time!!!! It was awesome! Those things are everywhere here!!!! Its like these little tiny go cart-sized, 3-wheeled taxis that take you around. It was so much fun haha. The roads here though ARE NUTS. There are legitamately no road laws. People just drive all willy nilly and go wherever they want and there are no lanes. Im not even exagerating. But somehow we all survive haha! Its just quite the adventure out on those streets!!! 

Also I got to see Ben Smith from high school so that was exciting! Mom, Hermana Douglas said that I talk just like you do and right when she said that I just burst into tears!!!! I miss you so much. 

I dont have much, no mucho español, and not many that understand or know me, but I do have a few important things on my side: 

1) My smile. I can always smile and give love to people even if other than that, all i can do is talk like Dora.
2) the Spirit...aka peace and felizidad
3) PRAYER--- ive never had to rely so much on prayer!!! it is maazing to know my heavenly father is right here with me. The only one who truly understands. And He speaks spanish AND English AND spanglish.
4) These scriptures:
3 Nephi 18:24
D&C 84:88
They are getting me through :)

I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!! and everyone who emails me and lifts me up. I am so thankful to have you guys on my team. 

Dont forget to look for Heavenly Father LOVE today! and to have a good PERSPECTIVE and mindset in whatever your circumstances may be. I know it is possible.

Hermana Gardner

week five:

Hermana Gardner here!!! How is the team?!
Guess WHAT?!?!?! 6 more days till im in the real world!!!!!!!!!! I literally am so excited. I cant wait to get to work and do what i came here to do. Soooo that being said, I leave the CCM at like 6 am next Tuesday and then meet up with my mission presidents, the Douglasses. So i probably wont have a pday next week :(
But this week was good and full of lots of ups and downs. BUT the ups were UP  so it was worth it.
last p-day we were out shopping at the grocery store and i finished checking out and i was standing there waiting for my comps. There was an older man standing near me and I started talking to him. I told him i was a missionary, and asked if he knew the mormons, tried to share the gospel, etc, haha! But I couldnt really remember what to say in spanish!!! haha! so hard! But it was hilarious because im sitting there trying to share the gospel and then he starting saying ¨something someakjdsomspanish espanol...something..talkingreallyfast ..usted es caliente!¨ Im like ummm, gracias? and then my comp walksup and he goes ¨hey bebe.¨
...oh dear. hahahahaha
Okay so The childrens song book in spanish has the´primary song önce there was a snowman¨. Except that instead of snowman, the word they use is ¨mono¨which is a monkey. ha!! We were all like what the heck? why on earth is it monkey? and we were singing it in englsih and doing the snowman movements for our teachers and they were laughing at us because we sing ¨snowmen,¨ (the way it ought to be sang..). hahaha it was so funny. i guess the word for snowman doesnt translate into spanish to the beat of the song... but all the other words stay the same??? So apparently the primary children sing about a monkey that melts in the sun. i dont know. it doesnt make sense. we were dying laughing.
If you all could SEEE my plate at dinner... man oh man. there are so many green things on there. You wouldnt beleive it was the same Tessa. Im eating sooo many VEGETABLES! im so proud of myself!!!!
My nose is SOOO sunburned, i look like rudolph the red nosed reindeer. hermana-el-nariz-rojo-misionera
Mom... you were always RIGHT about piano lessons. I wish so badly now that I knew how to play the piano. Jack, get learning for your mission. and Stock and Micah too!! haha it seriously is a helpful talent to have here.
I FINALLY think i decided on my word of the year!!!! Im a little late but im excited because i finally thought of something meaningful to me. Its the word, PERSPECTIVE. Im beginning to learn that having the right perspective in anything in life is such a game changer. It changes the way you think about and perceive your current situations. Specifically for me here on my mission I want to always remember WHY i am here and keep my sights set on the eternal perspective. So often we get so caught up and focused on the daily dirty details and our perspective becomes so shrunk down, like we cant see past right now, or today, or this moment. And we can get so discouraged, or upset, or bored, or beaten down when we forget our purpose. When we forget to consciously remind ourselves WHy we are doing something and remind ourselves that it is WORTH IT. We must think about the amazing things that come from our work, whether it be raising a family, serving a mission, going to school, working long days, etc. The mundane daily work and stress and sweat and labor can make us forget what the whole purpose is, what its really all about. But i dont want to forget, i want to remember.
Another thing thats been on my mind is  that I want to start REALLY consciously  looking for, and thinking about the daily affirmations of Heavenly Fathers love for me. I think He wants to show me every day that He loves me and is aware of my situation. But sometimes I dont see it. and ive really had that impression, that they are there, but he wants me to look because they may be small things. They may be quiet or easily looked past, bhut I believe they are there and Heavenly Father seems to be tellingme that He wants me to find them. Like a little scavenger hunt between Him and me... and i want you all to join me!! Whose with me?! I want you guys to be looking too, and email me or simply write them down at least for yourself and look for how Heavenly Father is showing His love for you EVERY day. Not just sometimes, but daily. Lets start looking. :)
1 Cor. 2:9
Alma 26:1 
 these have to do with perspective. Because sometimes you really cant see what blessings will come when you start a journey. Sometimes we dont realize for a long time later.
I am SOOO grateful to have so much love and support flooding into my heart from home. I feel it so stroing and your prayers are strengthening me.
I LOVE YOU! Thank you so much.
Have a good good week! and dont forget to look for Heavenly Fathers love, because it is there. :)
paz y amor until who knows when?! maybe another week and a half?? ah!! But its ok cause ill take your love with me and share it with REAL people out there! WOOT WOOT!!!!
Hermana G :)
pics: bus ride to the temple andddd ICE CREAM on PDAY!!!! woot woot

week four:

happy to KNOW.

Mi familia y amigos!!!
¿¡Como estan?!
It has been an awesome week here in Lima at the CCM! and guess what?? We are advancados now!!!! wooooo!!! That means my district is the oldest group now at the CCM! We have been here the longest, and i cant even believe it.
My spanish is ehh...but I am improving. I just need to keep reminding myself to talk more in spnaish with my companions. But I pretty much say all my prayers in all Spanish which is way cool! And all our lessons too of course .Our lessons with investigators are getting better too. I am learning soooo much about how the spirit is SO important. If you go in there and just try to explain a gospel principle or concept or focus on what words you are going to say, then pretty much the lesson just goes alright. But if you go in there with a calm mind, a prayer in your heart and with the Spirit, really listen to the person and try to figure out there needs and their concerns, the the Spirit truly helps to know what you can say to help them, and surprisingly, I can usually come up with the spanish that I need hahaha. Its awesome.
Being here, you really realize how vital the Gospel is in life, and gain a perspective of what is most important. I LOVE studying the Book of Mormon. My testimony of that book has shot through the roof!! I just want to run around the whole world and tell everyone, "Its TRUE! its True!!! I KNOW its true!!!!!" Its amazing what happens when I actually take time to read it and ponder and relate it to my own life. I feel the spirit so strong teaching me things that only Heavenly Father would know I need help with. Helping me feel comfort and love that only He would know I needed on a particular day. It is so so so exciting.
If I had to sum up my testimony on what I have learned in the past 4 weeks here, it would be this quote by Ezra Taft Benson.
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He will make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace."
Seriously!! How cool!!!! Did you see all of those blessings he mentioned!?!? As I have turned my heart to the Lord and tried to focus on His will, trying to learn the things he wants me to learn, and change and grow and try to be like Christ, I have begun to notice these blessings around and within me.
I know Heavenly Father loves me.
I know He knows my heart.
These truths have hit my heart so powerfully in the past fews weeks ive spent here... It can be rather challenging. Some days are really long. Sometimes I get discouraged or think I am not capable. But always. ALWAYS, the Lord comes to my side and He finds a way to tell me that I am His daughter. I am HIS missionary. That he is aware of me. and that "He will the task to your capabilities" like Elder Scott said on Sunday in a devotional we got to watch. :) I LOVED that quote. It was just what I needed. All the Lord needs is our willing hearts and no matter who we are or what our personalities are like, if we are willing to serve Him and do his work, He will fit the task to our capabilities. I LOVE THIS. and its true.
Our branch president said this quote in sacrament meeting on Sunday, along with a bundle of other amazing things about Christs Atonement, and I all but balled my eyes right out of their sockets by the end of the meeting haha! But i soooo needed this quote.
"Christ is not waiting for us to be perfect. He is the Lord of the imperfect, and He wants us in our broken-ness." - Cheiko Okasaki
I can feel with all my soul (there are even some moments where I feel my heart might burst right out of my little cuerpo!!) that this work is real and that this church is true.. It is Heavenly Fathers work. I wish I could get all of you to feel what I feel in my heart, I wish I get get you all to feel this feeling inside me, so powerful and so strong that IT IS TRUE! and it is important. It is the happiest, most joyful and peaceful feeling in all the world!!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!! Te amo mucho!!!! y yo se que Jesucristo vive y tiene mucho amor para nosotros. (sneak peak of my spanish testimony... stay tuned for more.)
Have a wonderful weel, amigos. and thanks for your prayers, I really feel so strengthen by them.
paz y amor,
Hermana Gardner