We just went to the temple here for a session which was as always, amazing! The session was in English, too. So that was nice. I'm still groggy-ish and kind of dizzy when I wake up because I'm still adjusting to the time zone here. Whenever I wake up it feels like I'm getting up at like 3:30. Which is about right since Utah is 3 hours behind us here. Anyway, the temple was amazing. The Celestial Room in the Santo Domingo Temple is gorgeous, and I had a great time there.
I was thinking about how I miss you all and everything, but then I remembered what the temple stood for: Eternal Families. And then I felt peace, because these next few months will fly by and they're but a small moment compared to the eternal scheme of things. I love you all and I'm so glad that we've been sealed together :) I also thought of Heavenly Father, and how He sacrificed His Son for me, and then I thought that if He can do that for me, then I can give two years of my life to Him. One of the speakers in Provo said that it's kind of like our "tithing" of life or something like that. After about 20 years of life, we give back 10% to Him (2 years). I liked that.
After we got here, and after the first night, I kind of started settling in. The cafeteria is WAY smaller, mostly because I think capacity here is like 60 or so missionaries. I don't know for sure, but there's only one floor of rooms. It's actually pretty nice, without all the crowds. And it's very warm :) Apparently this is the cool part of the season... I'm glad I'm here now to get used to the heat so that when summer comes around, I'll at least be a little used to it. Also, the Haitian missionaries came in last night, so there's a few more than just the 19 of us to begin with. I admire them so much, because they have to sacrifice more to be here, and they have such a great, warm, kind, genuine spirit about them, and I really like that. They're great people.
I got a new companion also. His name is Elder Dowell, and he's from Utah as well. He's a pretty cool guy and I think we're getting along well! We had our first "lesson" last night. I call it a "lesson" because it was only 10 minutes long and we really only got to know our investigator a little bit and kind of plant the seed of interest, but hopefully it will go better tonight. We have two investigators here, the first (the one we taught last night) is named José Cuevas, and the other, which we haven't taught yet, is named Kristal Araujo. I think we're teaching her tomorrow.
Besides that, it is very humid here. We had our first gym time yesterday and I was sweating horribly afterward (because the basketball hoops are outside). I was so tired! I wasn't tired from the running around, because being at sea level, I can run and jump and everything as long as I want. But the heat really took it out of me. However, it was a LOT of fun, because we were able to just play some basketball or volleyball amongst us from the USA, so that was really fun. I enjoyed it a lot.
My room here is much nicer than the one in Provo, but it's also much smaller. My 3 roommates are all BYU fans also, so that's pretty fun :) We figured out how to turn down the thermostat so we're not all dying at night. In fact, I actually have to use a blanket because it gets a little chilly! How 'bout that?
Anyway, I think I'm running out of things to say… Actually, no. I have my mailing address. Before I give it though, just know that if you're sending a package, make sure that the MTC Presidency will enjoy it, because it probably won't make it down in time before I leave. I think they said that letters should make it, but packages probably won't. They said something about DearElder.com too, but I don't quite remember. Anyway, that's the situation with mail for anyone who's interested. Here's the address:
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Dominican Republic MTC
Av Bolivar #825
I think that address should work, and like I said, probably don't send any packages because I probably won't get them . . . ha ha. But for anyone who's interested, try and send letters and they should get here :) And Mom, don't worry about sending the SD Card back just yet, I'd rather be able to receive it than have it sitting here in the DR, never to be retrieved by me again. I think we should wait until I'm in Puerto Rico for that.
Which reminds me!! Everything I've heard about Puerto Rico here has really made me so happy. Apparently it's "night and day" compared to this place, which is great. The water's no good and the power sometimes goes out. Apparently, in Puerto Rico, they have nice, clean, wide streets, and the power works and the MTC President, Pres. Glazier says that I could roll around in the water there. :) So I'm very excited to get there! It will be a great experience!
But I think that's about it. I miss you greatly mi familia, and I love you very much! I pray for you every night and every morning, and I keep you in my heart always. May the Lord bless you and keep you! Oh, and have a very Happy New Year!! My next email will probably be sent in the year 2012, so have a great New Year, and know that I love you!
Con mucho amor,
3 Nefi 5:13