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08 February 2012

Week 10: Survived my First Week!

Well family, I'm still alive. :) I'll admit, the first few days here were some of the toughest I've been through. They were long, and all I could think about was home. I had no idea what I was going to do. I had some trouble adjusting to my new home and figuring things out, but with time that came. But honestly, on Fast Sunday I had a special experience. For my fast, I prayed and asked Heavenly Father for strength and help to adjust here and to not miss home too much. And you know what happened? Almost immediately after I ended my fast, I felt so much better. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It's still hard being here, and it's hard work and everything to go out every day in the heat and humidity, but Í feel so much better. I still miss you and home, but again, it doesn't weigh on my mind that much anymore. :)

First to respond to your emails.

Mom - That's really too bad to hear about Abuelo. :( I hope that you have a very safe trip to Argentina and that you can return home safely. I hope that everything works out there. I will keep you and our family in my prayers. And thanks for that picture of Marilee and her ice cream maker, I hope she's enjoying it!

Dad - Have fun dancing!! haha that's funny, I hope you have fun. :) And that's great that the Giants won! Thanks for the update :) I'm glad that things are starting to work out, and that you are receiving blessings. That's one thing that I testify of out here, that God loves us and blesses us, and so it's good to see a witness after trials of our faith (Ether 12:6) And thank you for your uplifting words.

Marilee - That ballroom dancing sounds great! Great job!! I hope you keep that up because it sounds like you really love it. :) That's cool that you were able to go to a competition and everything. I hope you are able to go to more and keep working on your talent! I'll write more in my email to you, but that's really great. :)

Now for my week, and it may be short because I'm running out of time.

After last Wednesday, we went out and bought some food at... WALMART!! You have no idea how strange it was to walk in. It's set up exactly like the Syracuse Walmart at home, but everything's in Spanish (with English subtitles). That was so great! We bought some food and stuff for the week, so that was pretty cool. Driving out, we passed McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Taco Time, Sizzler, Fuddruckers (what??), Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco, Baskin Robbins, and a bunch of other stuff! It was GREAT! I love it here because I get the foreign feel enough with the people and the experiences and the culture, but I get home with the food and the Walmart. :) I never thought I'd be so happy to see one in my life. :) Anyway, so that's that. Since this past week has been a blur, I'm just going to write about what I remember.

One night, I think Thursday night, we went to a member family's home, the Gonzalez family. They are great and I love them already! They remind me of a normal member family back home. :) They gave us a great dinner of rice and ribs, and Modesto, their grandpa who ísn't a member and who we are teaching, gave us his famous dip. It was great :) Also, they speak English and prefer it so we speak English with them. In fact, besides contacting, we speak English with a lot of our investigators just because they seem to like it better, and they know we can communicate better in English. We have also visited the Sanabrias couple, which is an older member couple, and we have dinner there tonight.

We have done a LOT of contacting, which has been a good experience for me just because it has helped me to develop more Spanish and more of what we're here to teach. I've enjoyed learning from Elder Hammer, and what he has to teach me. He's a great trainer I think. I'll be sending home a picture of us in our car. :) We haven't had too many investigator lessons because every time we pass by to try and teach them, they either aren't home, ignore us, or are busy. We contacted a really cool English speaking lady, named Lucille, who wanted an English Book of Mormon, but when we passed by, no one was there. She seemed very interested though, so I hope we can pass by again soon. I've also heard that we have a great investigating family, but I have yet to meet them. I hear they are really great though, and kind of our "jewel" as it were.

Anyway, so Sunday was a different experience. The church is built of cement, and the inside is all open air, like the lobby has no roof. The chapel does and all the classrooms do, but the lobby and everything is open air and all. So that was different. Also, all the meetings are obviously in Spanish, so that's a bit different. But it was a good experience and I enjoyed it!

Monday night we had FHE with the Gonzalez family, and they fed us again. :) They're great! And for lunch that day we ate at Fuddruckers. That was wonderful. :)

Yesterday was a rough day in the sense that nobody listened to us at all, and all our appointments fell through. But it was good, and I'm learning more and more each day. I hope to start talking more and teaching more lessons. I'm starting to figure things out here and feel better, so I hope to start progressing more.

Anyway, as always I hope you are all doing well. I pray for you every day, and keep you always in my heart. I know that the Lord has blessed you and will continue to do so. Puerto Rico is wonderful, and I know that I will learn to love it. I love it in the sense that it's great, but I don't love it to the point where I don't want to leave yet. But that will come with time. I love you, pray for you, and wish you the very best. :) May God continue to bless you!!

PS: I had my first Malta, which tastes like carbonated molasses. :) Love you!! Talk to you next week!


Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission
Alma 29:9
3 Nephi 5:13
1 Cor. 13:11
D&C 4
Joshua 1:9

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