My dearest family,
I am so sorry to hear that you are all sick. :( I'm so sorry! I hope that this sickness passes soon and that you all start feeling better! I will definitely pray for your health, and I hope you get feeling better soon! I know that the flu is no fun, and I remember when I had it once... no bueno. :(
Anyway, I will now respond to your emails.
Mom - Every day we wake up at 6:30 and go to sleep at 10:30. Some of the other elders get up earlier for working out and stuff, and sometimes I get up at around 6:20 to do some weight training and all. But no later than 6:30 can we sleep in on any day, and we should be in bed by 10:30. We live in a house actually! Not an apartment or anything, it's a true Puerto Rican house. It's got a small kitchen (you would die if you had to use it haha), a pretty big main room we use for our studies, and then three rooms we use. Two of them are for sleeping in, and one is where we keep our luggage and clothes and stuff. One room sleeps four of us, Elder Griffin and Elder Martinez, and then Elder Hammer and I, and then the other room is for the Zone Leaders, Elder Hafen and Elder Campbell. We also have two bathrooms, but one shower can't be used right now because the tiles in the bathroom need to dry or something weird like that, I'm not exactly sure haha. And the food is great! Rice, beans, and all that. Plus we've eaten more fast food since I've been here than I had in the last year!! Maybe not that much, but it sure feels like it. But no, we eat plenty of Puerto Rican food, and I've eaten pinchos, tostones, and some weird soup mixture which was okay. Also, we have a washer at our house which we use to wash our clothes, but the dryer doesn't work, so we hang our clothes on a clothesline. Definitely a different experience, and I miss our washer and dryer, but it's good at the same time. :) Also, I'll look for Mema's letter. I have a postcard for her and Bapa, so I need their house number because I forgot it haha… but yeah, I'll watch for that. I think the ZL's are getting the mail today. We'll see if it came.
Dad - Yeah, I didn't know about the letter from the High Council, so that was pretty cool to get! Bro. Peterson shared some good scriptures and everything, and I really enjoyed it. And yes, I did get my package. :) Thank you so much! Those granola bars will save my life I think :) Although I've kind of adjusted to not eating much in the evenings, which is good. Maybe I can lose some weight. :) But yes, I do have my bike. It's a great looking thing, and it's brand new, but I haven't yet used it. Elder Hammer broke his arm (an incredible story, and if I have time I'll add it as a P.S.), and so he can't ride his bike. Therefore, neither can I. So we mostly use the car, but do quite a bit of walking. If his arm wasn't broken, we would take our bikes out with the car, and then take our bikes from wherever we parked. We would definitely save miles that way, which would be good, but our circumstances have made that not possible. But it's a great looking bike and I'm excited to use it when I can! And at the end of my mission I just donate it back to the mission to be fixed up and then sold as a used bike to another missionary, so that will be cool. And I will look for the Jazz stats next week, and maybe how BYU basketball is doing? Just whatever you feel like sharing. :)
Marilee - No email this week?? :) In any case, I hope you get feeling better too, and that everything will start looking up for you. Just keep moving forward and do the best that you can little sis! Love you!
And now onto the weekly report.
It's been a pretty interesting week, full of contacting people and tracting and such. Last P-day we were going to go to the Botanical Gardens here in Caguas, but they're not open on Wednesdays! So we can't ever go... :( So we went to la Casa de Ajedrez, thinking that would be cool. Nope. Nobody was there. I'll send some pictures of it in another email, but it was dead. Not a soul was there. Yeah.. no bueno. So we went back to the house and just hung out until 6:00 haha.
Thursday morning we did a service project for some drug addict man that lives in our neighborhood. That was kind of cool. We cut down trees, uprooted a ton of weeds, and by the time we were finished, there was a pile of just tree branches, weeds, etc. about as tall as me, and about two or three car lengths long! I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but I forgot my camera that morning. The rest of that day, we taught a few people, including our (right now) Golden Investigator, Luis Lopez! We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and invited him to church, and he accepted. That was really cool. :) That was the highlight of the day.
Friday we did a lot of contacting. We walked a lot and passed by some people, but didn't really teach any lessons. We shared the message of the Restoration with a lot of people, and got a few people interested. Nothing too spectactular happened that day though, but I can see my arms starting to tan, which is kind of cool. :)
Saturday wasn't a very productive day. We did quite a bit of contacting, but we spent a little too much time in the car, trying to get from one place to another. That wasn't good. We felt bad about it and asked forgiveness when we prayed that night. We still worked hard, but we could have worked harder.
Sunday was a really good day though. We picked up Luis that morning, and we were very surprised to see that he was bringing his family!! He brought his wife and his two little boys. It was really great. They seemed to really enjoy Sacrament Meeting, and then afterwards, the parents were able to part with their kids in the nursery! This was their first time leaving their kids behind, so that was kind of interesting. But the kids did fine, and the parents really enjoyed Sunday School. They were very attentive and seemed to like the lesson. Then Luis' wife, I think her name is Stefania, went with one of the sister missionaries to Relief Society, and we stayed with Luis in Priesthood. He participated, and really had a great time I think. :)
Monday we had our district meeting in the morning, followed by weekly planning, and then lunch at.... Fuddruckers again haha. We passed by a few people, including Luis, and reviewed the Restoration with him. While he seemed to really enjoy church, we don't think he fully understands that this is THE true church on the earth. We'll be passing by again tomorrow I think to watch the Restoration video with them. Other than that, we had FHE with the Gonzalez family, and did some contacting again. We do a lot of contacting.
And then yesterday. It was a good, full day with studies and all, and we passed by some people. Last night though, we were able to teach another investigator, Oscar Perez. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and invited him to church. He said that once he starts getting his answer, he'll come to church and then be baptized. So he just needs to read the Book of Mormon, get that answer, and then everything else will fall into place. I'm very confident of that. But it was a good lesson, and I think he really wants to know, he just needs to do his part. :)
Anyway, that was the week! I honestly can't believe it's already been a week since the last email. It feels like I was just here emailing. The days are a long, but the weeks are short. I miss you all and love you all, and really truly hope you start feeling better. I'll keep you in my prayers (as I already do), and I pray that things will start looking up. Thank you for your package again, and for your support. You are the best. :) I love you and wish you the best. Until next week mi familia!
iLes amo mucho!
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission
3 Nephi 5:13
1 Cor. 13:11
P.S. So we can't have iPods here, so I'm going to the Post Office today to buy some package stuff to mail home my iPod and speakers... This means I'll need some CDs or something... Not necessarily a CD player and speakers, because we mostly just listen to our music in the car. But if you could maybe do something for me? If you could maybe send me some of my CDs in one of those CD holder things you put in cars? Thank you!