My dear family,
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Well, it has been quite the week. It has basically flown by. I'll get to why in a little bit, but it's been good.
Mom - Mom, mom, mom. You fell down again? I'm glad it's nothing worse than a bru though! It could have been much much worse, I know. And I can only imagine the heat, I'm glad I don't have to deal.... oh wait, I do. Ha ha and the rain doesn't help at all here, it just makes it more humid. And that bottle looks great! So does Dad! Ha ha, but I'm glad you're doing all right, and thanks for the pictures! I love pictures of you guys. :) (Though I did not get the one of Marilee in the garden...?)
Dad - I was able to open July letter, but not the May one. I liked the July one, though! I'm sorry it's been kind of hot over there, but I feel your pain, just like I was telling mom. Everything's all right, and it's been quite the adventure! But know that I'm doing all right now.
Marilee - no email this week?? What?? Anyway, hope you're doing great little sis! Only a month and a half left of summer!
Alright, here we go. So last week I was in the mission office in Bayamon with hardly any sleep and writing to family. After that, we... waited some more. Pres. Alvarado didn't show up until about 5:00. And what happened was Elder Morrison and Elder Mangelson went out to work in Guaynabo with the APs. Elder Durfee and I stayed to talk to President. Basically in my interview we talked about how I needed to stop being a follower, and start being the leader he wants me to be, and the one Heavenly Father knows I can become. He also talked about that with Elder Durfee, who was Elder Morrison's companion. Then he talked to us together, and told us to pack our things back into the car (just ours), to take the car to Yauco, and then once we got there, to break down the bunk beds so that there were only two. So now, us 2 are working in Guayanilla AND Yauco. A ward AND a branch. 4 pueblos: Guanica, Yauco, Guayanilla, and Peñuelas. Wow. He also said we are to only speak Spanish to each other, and that we need to get up at 5:30 every morning to have an extra hour of study time for the 12 week in-field training program. So that's what we did. So this whole past week has been crazy trying to work in 2 units, especially since the Bishop of Guayanilla just got back from his temple trip this past weekend, and the ward mission leader moved to the States. So it's been kind of crazy!
Anyway, just know that President always wants to help us grow, and even though it was a big move and a big change, ultimately I think it will help. In the past week it really has helped. Pres. Alvarado is a great man, and I know that he holds the keys to this mission, and as we follow his counsel, we'll see growth and change.
But it's been a great week, because Elder Durfee and I have been learning and growing together. He's from Grantsville Utah. Oh, that reminds me, Pres. talked to us about that, and how he doesn't want us to just be another couple of missionaries from Utah. He wants us to stand out, because he knows we can. So anyway, we've been learning and the apartment is now spotless ha ha. Working in Yauco has been great, because there hadn't been missionaries there for like a year, and so in the past few months it has been exploding. Also, the members there want the branch to grow, and they help a TON. We have like 8 or 9 investigators. Here in Guayanilla, we are going to be seeing some growth also I think, and we're meeting with the Bishop Wednesday night to make some plans.
There's a man named Eric, and his daughter Erika, who live in Guanica, with whom we are trying to focus. He's a really cool guy, and we're trying to set a baptismal date with him.
Also, Efrain in Yauco is a pretty cool guy too. He's had the Book of Mormon for like 30 years, and knows it's true! All that is stopping him from being baptized is the fact that his wife is Catholic, and he doesn't want any problems with that.
There is a young man in Yauco named Yan Garcia who just came back from the States, and we haven't met him yet. But we've heard that before he left for the States he was really excited and at the point of baptism! Also, a young guy in Guayanilla is the same way, so we're hoping to work with the both of them. Anyway, there's so much going through my head at the moment with all our investigators that I can't keep them straight! But we now have a car, which is good, and next week I'll hopefully finally be getting my Puerto Rican driver's license. Oh and by the way, I was wrong about how no amount of cleaning could help the apartment. It looks much better now. :) It's still an ugly place, but having it clean has helped a lot. And it feels different. There's a more peaceful spirit in the apartment now, which is I think part of the goal.
Anyway, know that I am doing well. :) I love you all, and thank you all for everything. You are truly the best family ever, and I couldn't ask for any better! It's been a pretty good week, and really, really busy. There's not a moment where we're not doing something. It's good, and the work in Yauco is growing greatly, and will be soon also in Guayanilla. I love you all so so much, and I hope you're all doing well! I pray for you every night!
With much much love,
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission