My dearest family,
Wow! 7 months! it's amazing how fast time is flying by. It's hard to believe, to be completely honest. I can't even think about how 7 months ago we were driving down to Provo. And then to think of all the changes I've made and how much my life has been changed for the better in just these past 7 months, it's amazing. Anyway, a pretty decent week this past week, and I'll get there in a second!
Mom - It's interesting... I've had that same discussion with people on facebook about trek. People just don't understand the point behind it. I really like what Dad had to say about it, and I completely agree. And the thing about the concentration camps, are you serious?? My goodness. As somebody who has actually tried Trek, and done it, it is one of the best things ever, if you do it right. Just like anything else in the gospel, we have to do OUR part. We can't just read the Book of Mormon and expect to get an answer. We have to read, ponder, and then pray. We have to act. We can't just ask God for something, and then just sit around waiting for it to happen. Like Pres. Alvarado shared with me last week, Gordon B. Hinckley tells us to pray, and then get up off our knees and go to work. I say this to tie it into Trek in the sense that we can't just go on Trek to just go. We have to go and do OUR part and remember what the Pioneers did, and we have to try and learn from it. Not doing so is like reading the scriptures while listening to rock music, or praying with a vain repetition, or going to church because it's expected. If you didn't get something out of trek, it's because you didn't try. Faith is action. There is no witness until after a trial of our faith (Ether 12:6). There's a reason faith is the first principle of the Gospel: because it is absolutely necessary for our salvation, and is necessary to bring to pass other principles (such as repentance), and ordinances (such as baptism). Thus, we must show our faith and always be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and always be wanting to learn, from ALL righteous and uplifting experiences (i.e. Trek), and that is when we receive revelation, and truly understand what we must do in this life to return to Our Heavenly Father. :) Whew. Anyway, that's my thoughts on all that! And I didn't know the date of your anniversary as a member, that's really cool. :) And Mom, I want you to know that I feel like I can stand with the 2060 stripling warriors in saying that "we do not doubt, our mothers knew it." I don't doubt either, because my mother knows it. :) I love you Mom! Thank you for everything. :)
Dad - your Halloween ideas sound awesome. I'm sad I'm going to miss it... but I can't believe it's only 3 months until October! I expect some pictures from how things are going, and especially from Halloween night! I would definitely love to see how everything turns out, and what everything looks like. And that would be great, having some goop. As far as other stuff I'd need... probably a couple cans of mosquito repellant, because they're wanting us to wear that stuff all day now, since three missionaries have caught Dengue. It's a pretty bad disease, and can be fatal. Not commonly fatal, but can be. It's basically like the worst flu/fever ever. Body aches, vomiting, all that good stuff. So, maybe some mosquito repellant? And if you're wondering about any food or anything to send... just whatever gummy candies you think I'll like. :) I have discovered a great love for gummy candy, like Lifesavers gummies and stuff, so anything like that would be great! Thank you so so so much! Also, what I said about Trek above also applies to what you said. I totally agree, and I will keep doing my best to keep building my foundation. Anyway, know that I love you too, Dad, and that I wouldn't be the person I am now without all your support and all your help. You've always been there to turn to, and I feel like I can compare myself to Nephi or Moroni, because while they weren't as clear as the stripling warriors, by reading their words, they had a deep respect and love for their fathers. Likewise, I love you very much, Dad. :)
Marilee - I will reply to your email separately, sis!
Whew! Long one today! Haha, but this week was just kind of normal, although I had the beginnings of an ingrown toenail... However, Elder Morrison, who lives in our apartment, has had them before, and so he helped me out. He lifted up the edge that was going into my toe, and put some cotton under it, so now I just have to wait until the toenail grows over that, and I should be good! Any tips, Dad? Anyway, besides that, we spent a lot of the week over in Peñuelas, because we worked a lot in Guayanilla. We finally found some cool people, who are willing to talk to us, so hopefully we'll be able to start teaching them soon!
On Friday, we had tradeoffs, and I went with Elder Morrison to Peñuelas, and we found a cool kid named Hector. He's 19, and we asked him if he wanted to learn more about Jesus. He said yes, so we'll be seeing him on Wednesday! He seems like he could really progress. Besides that, my bike has been behaving better this week, and both tires are still pumped up. However, my brakes (in just 2 months!) on the back tires got a little worn down, so I had to buy new ones. Oh well, such is life.
To be honest though, we basically focused on contacting this week, since we really don't have too many investigators. We literally only taught one investigator lesson. The rest were recent converts or with members. We taught Radames and his family, and they are just full of confusion. They need the Plan of Salvation, especially the Atonement, and they need it bad. They are just so worried about what happens to people after death, and who are the people who are going to el infierno and everything, and it's just frustrating, because the dad, who was baptized 11 years ago, but wasn't truly converted, has a deep knowledge of the Bible, and uses it (to the best of his understanding), and it just confuses everyone. They won't read the Book of Mormon, or come to church, so it's just frustrating. Anyway, the Tesch's, the senior couple here, said they'd love to help us out, and Elder Tesch is extremely knowledgeable. I think that will be good. :)
Other than that... not too much has happened this week. :\ A lot of dogs chased us around, and I got a good kick in on one! We were riding, and this dog started chasing me, and I kicked it good right in the face. :) Victory. And lots of other dogs like to chase us, and there's seriously a ton of them here in Guayanilla. Goodness. Um... and that's about it!
I'm sorry, it wasn't the most interesting week haha.. OH, we did get wet yesterday, because we got rained on a lot. And we taught Hno. and Hna. Caraballo, who are amazing members. Truly converted. Incredible. They gave us a lot of food, too, so that was nice. :) Anyway, besides that, nothing too interesting. Keep an eye out for tropical storms and hurricanes for me! And know that I love you all so very much, and keep you in my prayers always. I thank you for everything you do for me and for all your support. You are the best! Have a great 4th of July, I'll be out working, but I hope you guys have a blast! Take pictures and tell me how it goes! Let freedom ring!
I love you all so very very much, and look forward to hearing from you next week!
Con muchísimo amor
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission