Well my family, here I am. After 6 months of waiting, and 2 months of training, I am finally here in Puerto Rico. :) It was so good to be able to talk to you yesterday. So you know, my P-day from now on will be on Wednesdays.
Anyway, time to get you up to speed on my situation since I talked to you yesterday. After we were done, we waited a bit more for our flight, and then it came time to board. We went through the gate and stuff, but instead of getting on a plane, we got on a bus! The bus drove us out onto the tarmac, and we got onto a . . . you guessed it, a 2 propeller plane, not a jet. I'll be honest, I was a bit nervous. I don't have my camera with me right now, but once I can, I'll send you a picture of it. It was pretty crazy! The flight was a bit bumpier than normal, but it was good. As we flew over the island, I started to really feel love for the people. I finally started to feel like this was where I was supposed to be. The DR was really nice, and I miss it and the friends I made there, but Puerto Rico is where I need to be.
After we landed, we went through Customs and everything, and then looked for whoever was supposed to pick us up. After like 20 or 30 minutes of searching, we finally gave up, and a nice gentleman lent me his cell phone so I could call the Mission Office. They told me that the Assistants were there looking for us, and eventually they found us. :) Elder Putnam and Elder Lopez picked us up and we drove across the bridge from San Juan to the rest of the island. After a while, we ended up at the mission office. Elder and Sister Stecker, the Office workers, told us about a bunch of stuff regarding finances, bikes, cars, and the like. They gave me a mission debit card which they will add $200 every month for me to use. I'll be taking $500 off my card soon to pay for my bike, helmet, lock, and light. It's a VERY nice bike, and well worth the money. Or at least, that's what I hear. I'll send you a picture of that next week too. Anyway, after that discussion, we met Pres. Alvarado. He's not quite who I expected, and he's much more intense than I pictured he would be, but he is an incredible man, and I love him already. We had our first interview, and we had a nice talk. He is a great man. After that, we sat around a bit waiting for I'm not sure what, and then Elder Putnam took all us new Elders (3 came on a later flight), and we went to the train station and did some contacting. I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and that was pretty cool. After, we eventually made it to the mission home, where I met Sis. Alvarado, who served all us new missionaries dinner. It was really great! We had a nice evening there. Then we went to the mission dormitory, where we stayed the night, and also where I met my trainer, Elder Hammer. He is from Idaho, and I think we will get along pretty well. :)
This morning, we woke up, did personal study, then came back to the mission office where we had a meeting with the AP's and the President, and then we drove here to Caguas which I guess is my first area. I think I'll be doing my first work tonight after 6:00. I'm a bit nervous and kind of scared, but excited. But Dad, if you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. :)
Anyway, I'm very happy to be here in Puerto Rico. It is an entirely different world from the DR. It's almost exactly like America. I mean, you can tell it's not, and you can tell it's another country and whatnot, but it's still got the comforts of home. I love it. :) I love it here so much. It's so green, tropical, and it's like paradise. I'm excited to get going on my real mission.
Also, mail wise, you're free to send mail now. Just send it to the mission office (the address I already gave you), and they'll give it to me through the Zone Leaders.
Well I hope you are all doing well. I hope that everything is good at home. I miss you muchly, and even more at the moment, just because of the change, but I know I'm here for a reason. Thank you for your support, and keep it coming. :) I love reading about what's going on at home, and I look forward to next week! I love you all and miss you.
May God bless you in all things!
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission
3 Nephi 5:13
1 Cor. 13:11