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06 January 2012

Week 5: Earthquake!

Well hello again my family! I hope you are all doing well! I tried to respond quickly to all your emails you sent, so hopefully I got all of that.

That being said, I will only focus on what's been happening here for the past week. :) Starting with this morning. So there I was sleeping, dreaming about who knows what, and all of a sudden, my bed starts shaking! For a moment I thought it was Elder Clarke (the Elder who sleeps under me), but then I heard Elder Dowell (my companion) say "What's going on??" And then I realized... we were in an earthquake!!! It was crazy!! In all my years living in Utah I'd never felt an earthquake, and then all of a sudden I get here for a week and BOOM, earthquake. I heard that this one was in the middle of the ocean between PR and here, and we still felt it pretty good. So I really hope no big earthquakes happen while I'm here. But whatever happens, I know I'm going to be protected by the Lord for my service. Anyway, we asked the Haitian missionaries if they felt it, and they just laughed like it was nothing. I bet they get it all the time. But yeah, so that was my fun experience of the week!

Another great thing we got to do, and that we get to do again tomorrow, is go contacting at the local park! We took a van over and then my companion and I took some pamphlets and just started walking around, talking to people and getting them to read the pamphlets and call the mission headquarters of their area. It was a really cool experience. There was one guy who really wanted to know where our meeting place was, but since we didn't know, we just told him to call the number. I hope he was able to find what he was looking for! Also, listening to some of the Dominican people talking, and knowing that the Puerto Ricans speak just as fast is a bit defeating, because I could barely understand them! But hopefully that will come with time.

This morning I had the opportunity to once again do a session at the Santo Domingo Temple. Also, I was very privileged to be a part of and witness some sealings! Of course, I was just able to represent a child, for obvious reasons, but it was still wonderful. It reminded me very much of about 11 years ago.(*) It was incredible, and I felt the Spirit so strongly. It was great. :)

On Sunday, we got to watch an old MTC devotional from Elder Holland. It was AMAZING. He is such a powerful, moving speaker, and I loved every moment of his teaching. He taught about how we need to convert ourselves first as missionaries before we can ever hope to convert others. He talked about Peter, in the last chapter of John, and how he became the Great Apostle then. It was great!

Then on Tuesday we were able to hear from Elder Cornish from the Area Presidency of the Caribbean. That was also really great, and he taught us about the 8 fundamentals of Preach my Gospel, which was really cool. I learned a lot about that, and I hope I can apply it! Also, my evening teacher, Hermano Rubio, is amazing. He is only 23, but he teaches the gospel like he's 50 or something. It's incredible.

Which reminds me, Elder Dowell and I have 3 investigators we are teaching! Cleira in the morning, Kristal in the afternoon, and José in the evening. It's sometimes difficult, teaching 3 different investigators (our teachers), but it's a good experience. I'll probably be teaching way more in the field!

Anyway, I really love it here. I think I enjoy it here more than in Provo. I don't know exactly why. Maybe it's because it's a bit less strict here and still spiritual, or maybe it's because it's just more personal. I don't know, but it's great. The people here are great, and Pres. Glazier, the MTC Pres. is a great man. I can't believe I've already been here a week. It's crazy! And in just 4 weeks I'll be leaving for the mission field. But I'm so excited to get to Puerto Rico and get to know those people. I've only heard good things about PR, so that will be great. :)

Well, I'm almost out of time, and I still need attach some pictures for you! (Which reminds me, did you get my SD card??? I sure hope so!!) So I will attach those and send off this email. But just know that I love you very much mi familia, and I pray for you every day, and especially every time I'm in the temple. I miss you, but I am doing great and loving every minute here. The food's great, and I'm doing just fine. :) I love you very much!!

Con much amor,

Elder Gardner

Alma 29:9
3 Nefi 5:13

*NOTE FROM THE EDITOR (MOM): In the year 2000 our family adopted Kimball’s baby sister. Six months later we were able to go to the temple to have her sealed to our family. Since Kimball was turning 8 that week, we asked the bishop if he could be with us at the temple, and he gave Kimball a temporary recommend. After all that went on in the temple was over, Kimball told us that he felt so happy in there that he wanted to go back some day. His wish was finally fulfilled when he received his endowments at the Bountiful temple. Happy day!
By the way, the earthquake was a 5.3, a rumble, there were no injuries or destruction.

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