Mi querida familia,
Honestly it feels like I was just here at this same computer typing an email to you last week. This past week has just flown by. I don't know what's going on haha.
As always, just want to start off with answering your emails.
Mom - That is really great news about Abuelo, I'm glad he's doing better. Hopefully like you said, you'll be able to find some cheaper tickets down there whenever the time comes. I will keep praying for you and them and whatever is the Lord's will, will happen. I hope everything works out well mi madre.
Dad - Thank you so so much for those words of encouragement. I particularly loved when you said that "You can't fall if you're always on your knees." Thank you so much Dad, I love you! Thank you for your words of wisdom and support. I'm still getting used to the mission life, but I think it's coming along okay. Just FYI, I haven't received anything from anyone since Provo, except for a letter I got on Monday from Bro. Peterson from the High Council. That was a really cool letter, and was unexpected!
Marilee - I will respond separately to your email :)
Well, here we go! After emailing last P-day, we did a lot of shopping at COSTCO and Walmart, and bought probably enough food to finish out this transfer. I also sent home some postcards to you and a couple of teachers from CHS. I plan on sending one to Mema and Bapa, but I forgot their house number, so if you could email that to me, that'd be great :) Anyway, after P-day was over, we ate at the Sanabrias, who are an older member couple. It was great! They fed us rice, beans, chicken, and potatoes with some tostones, which if you remember Mom, are double fried plantains. VERY good! Then we had a mission meeting with the ward mission leader, and then contacted until bed.
Thursday morning was our Zone Conference. My first Zone Conference, just barely a week in! And I got to play the piano, of course. :) It was really great. We received a LOT of instruction from Pres. Alvarado, who is a very passionate speaker. He is very spiritual, and VERY intense. He's a great man and a great president. I admire him and respect him greatly. After the conference, we did some contacting, taught a few lessons, and then went to bed. Oh, and I also gave Elder Stecker my $500 for the bike, so that's why that money isn't on my card anymore, if you were even worried about it. :)
Friday was another big contacting day. We walked up and down streets and talked to a bunch of people. Elder Hammer and I have been working hard to try and teach people. I'm still trying to get a hang of everything, but I think it's coming along all right. It's pretty hot and humid here, but thankfully we have a car, and we use it to get to where we need to be, and then walk around as much as we can. It's pretty good. We taught a lesson to a less active, which was cool, and then we were contacting in a place called Barriada Morales, and a young man opened his door and let us in to his home. His name is Luis Lopez. We taught him about the Book of Mormon, prayer, and left him with a copy. He agreed to have us come back on Sunday. A fantastic guy, and I'll get to him when I get to Sunday. :)
Saturday was once again, a big contacting day. We spent a lot of time talking to people in the streets, in their houses, and just all over the place. I have a picture from one of the urbanizaciones (neighborhoods) that I'll send with another email that I think you'll like. :) But yeah, a lot of contacting, and we taught some less actives. Our problem right now is that we don't have a lot of investigators who are progressing. Hopefully that will change, and we'll get some good investigators soon.
Now, Sunday was a pretty big day. It was the day for the Caguas Stake Conference, and besides having Pres. Alvarado there to speak, the Presiding Bishop, Bishop McMullin was there with his wife to speak. It was GREAT! He is such a dynamic and powerful speaker, and he talked about how blessed Puerto Rico would be if they paid their tithing. He talked about the blessings of the temple and such. It was great. After the Conference, we were able to pass by Luis again and teach him about baptism. We did, and testified of its importance, and invited him to be baptized. He accepted, and accepted to prepare for the 29th. :) Really great stuff! Now we just need to get him ready for that and hopefully get his family involved. He seems really accepting, and excited. I think we're passing by him again tonight, so that will be cool. :)
Monday morning was an interesting experience. ALL the missionaries in our mission met here in Caguas at the Stake Center, and we were privileged to hear from Bishop McMullin and his wife again. It was incredible! I learned so much about how we should act as missionaries, and what we need to be doing. He gave an inspired lesson about learning by the Spirit, and asking in faith. It was so great. That was really the highlight of this last week. After that, we had District Meeting, Weekly Planning, and then Lunch at Taco Bell. :) The rest of the day we contacted, taught lessons, and had FHE with the Gonzalez family. They're great!
And then yesterday was just a normal day. We stopped at Luis' but he wasn't home, but we still got some lessons in. Our area has been moved a bit, though. We're still in Caguas and all, but just a different area. We did some contacting last night in our new area, so that was pretty cool.
Anyway, that was pretty much my week! I've been typing furiously to get it all down as fast as I could, so I hope I didn't leave anything out. I know I forgot to send pictures from my trip to Puerto Rico last week, so I'll add those to the one picture I took this week haha. I will get better at taking pictures though, so I have more to send home each week. :) Anyway, I love you all so much, and I would just encourage you to make it a priority to read the Book of Mormon, and to also pray about it. One of the biggest things I've learned since being here is that the Book of Mormon and Prayer together are the KEY to knowing the truth of this Gospel. Without one or the other, nothing works, and we don't know. So I would just encourage you my family, and anybody who reads this to read the Book of Mormon, take Moroni's challenge in Moroni 10:3-5 seriously, and have faith in his promise that "by the power of the Spirit, ye may know the truth of all things." All things.
I love you my family, and I miss you and pray for you every day. I love you all very much and hope you are all doing great. Thank you for your teachings and for all you have done for me in my life. Thank you for your words of support and for your prayers and fasting. And thanks again in advance for the package. :)
I love you all so very much. Until next week mi familia! ¡Les amo mucho!
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission
3 Nephi 5:13
1 Cor. 13:11