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09 April 2012

Week 20: Semana Santa

Well family, here we are again! Another week has come and gone, and this one was even more special because it was Holy Week here in Puerto Rico. Holy cow. I had no idea it would be so intense haha. I'll get to it in a bit, but it was quite the interesting week, and I have a lot to tell you about it! But first . . .

Mom - Thank you for the pictures!! It looks like you had a great time! I hope you thought of me while riding Pirates and the Haunted Mansion and such! But I'm glad you had a good time, it seemed like you were enjoying yourselves. :) Also, I don't know when Ben goes to the MTC, so I don't think he's there now, I just think that he just got his call.
Dad - Sadly I am still waiting for that experience on "Small World," but Mom sent some pictures haha :) And your trip to California/Vegas sounds like it was great! I assume then that TSO didn't play any Christmas or anything? And it was at Universal? That's awesome, it sounds like it was a great time.

Marilee - I responded to your email separately.

Anyway, so, Holy Week. Just to set the stage a bit, pretty much everyone in Puerto Rico is Catholic. And if they're not Catholic, they're Pentecostal. In any case, pretty much everyone here is religious and believes in Christ. So for pretty much the whole week, everyone was on this religious kick, and they were just kind of in a fighting mood haha, which was pretty funny.

Anyway, to start with last Monday, we went bowling after we got lunch, and then did some shopping until 6:00, when our P-day ends. We then visited Roy, and watched the Restoration movie with him. We didn't have a lot of time left after though, so we didn't get to discuss it too much with him. :\ That was too bad... But he seemed to enjoy the movie, we just didn't get to talk about it with him.
On Tuesday, we did some contacting pretty much all day, and in the evening, we did some intercambios with the bishopric and such here. I went out with the Elders' Quorum President, and visited an older less-active man, while Elder Hammer took the bishop to one of our investigators. I guess it was a really great lesson, which was good, and it was good that it came from the bishop. They invited him to church, and he accepted! That was definitely the highlight of Tuesday.
Wednesday was Marilee's birthday, and basically all that happened that day was that we contacted all day, and our appointments fell through with people when we passed by. It was no bueno haha. We passed by quite a few people, but nobody was able to let us in or anything, so we just ended the day contacting. No lessons, no nothing.
Thursday was just another big contacting day, although we did drop of a Book of Mormon to a lady we had contacted earlier, so we'll see what happens there. I also found a couple of cool people, one who seems really promising! His name is Luis Santiago, and we're going to pass by him again this coming Saturday. He seems really interested and I think there's some potential there! That was definitely a highlight to that day as well.
And then Good Friday hit. Holy cow. When we left to go out and work, the streets were EMPTY. When we passed by churches, they were just filled with people. We passed through the city plaza, and they had put up three crosses. I guess they reenact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. Everyone was just in church all day, or else at home resting. Anyway, it was just weird to me because it was seriously like Christmas here. And nobody wanted to talk to us because it was Good Friday, so we didn't get a lot of contacts. That night, the church had an activity called "La Noche de Pan y Miel" which they had in celebration of the birth of Christ (on April 6). That was cool, but kind of weird haha. Just because it seemed to have some kind of Catholic undertones to it. Maybe it's because it coincided with Good Friday, but it was just kind of weird. At the end, they broke some bread and passed it around and we dipped it in some honey and ate it. It was just weird. So that was Good Friday!
Saturday was a normal day, and we did a ton of contacting that day to reach our Foundation. We were able to teach Bryan though, and taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a great lesson, and he said he'd pray about being baptized. He also committed to come to church with us!
 So on Sunday, we drove to his house so he could follow us to church, and he was all ready and everything. :) He came for all 3 hours, and seemed to enjoy it. He didn't really say much, but he seemed to have a pretty good time. We'll be following up with him this week and seeing how he liked it and such. It was good though, because it was an Easter meeting, and they talked about the Resurrection and such. It was a good Sunday, and a good church meeting. :) Then last night we went to an American family's house for dinner. That was great! It was good to eat something besides rice and beans and have a little taste of home haha. :) They had Kool-aid and potato salad and ham and salad, and then some chocolate pie and ice cream. So good. And then we had a little lesson with Robby, another of our investigators last night. It went pretty well.

Anyway, that's basically the week! Needless to say, I'm glad Holy Week is over, because now people can go back to being their old selves. Anyway, we'll see how this week goes, I guess! We have an Easter Conference tomorrow, and then Elder Hammer and I have a training meeting on Wednesday, so not a lot of time left over to get our Foundation and such. But I think it will be a good week. :)

As always, I hope that everything is going well back home. I hope you're all doing great, and that you had a great time in California and Vegas. :) I love you all so much, and I pray for you every day, both morning and night. I pray that you are being taken care of and provided for, and I look forward to hearing from you all again next week. I love you all so very much!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

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