Wow. And I thought my week was rough.
Mom - It sure sounds like it was quite the adventure for you this past week, and I hope and pray that everything is okay! But know that I love you too, Mom, more than I can express in words, and thank you for your example to me, and for not giving up on me. :)
Dad - I can't believe it either, 10 months already. It still feels like just a couple weeks ago we drove into Provo together. Wow! And the longest wait between talking to you guys is almost over! Christmas is just around the corner! But I'm glad the Haunted Forest went well, and that BYU beat Hawaii. I'm hoping for some similar good news next week - I'm basically hoping that BYU thrashes the Aggies haha, and Elder Smoot from Adjuntas wishes the same. And that is a sweet missionary experience, thanks for sharing. :) And know that I love you too, Dad, and thank you also for your example and for being a person to whom I can always look up.
Marilee - I'll write you separately. :)
|New PR driver's license|
Anyway, it was a pretty rough week here too. It seems like Satan was just working really hard this week on all fronts. For us I think it's because we missed renewing our covenants last week because of Stake Conference, and thus didn't have that extra power and everything, and this week was just tough. Basically, every day the members cancelled on us to go out with us, which was no good. Also, when we went to the investigators' houses, they weren't there either! On top of all that, good ol' Elder Gardner here goes and runs his new car into the metal guard rail on the side of the road after turning! It was a sharp right turn, and I got distracted looking at the car behing me thinking it was our investigator, and I guess I kept moving even though I thought my foot was on the brake, and ran into the guard rail. Luckily I was going slow, and all that's there is just a dent and the bumper popped out a bit, but after I called the office, they told me I needed to send in an accident report, and I'll be having an interview with President sometime. Great. Just what I needed. I just got back on his good side and then I go and accidentally hit the guard rail. Just my luck haha. Ugh. Anyway, so then the rest of that day I couldn't focus because the car was dented and all that was on my mind, and the whole week was just hard to teach. We did teach Juan-José though, the less active that President wants on a mission, and that was a really intense lesson. But besides that, it was just hard to find people to teach. And then came Friday night.
We had scheduled a baptismal interview with Narayan for Friday night, but when we went to his house, he wasn't there. We had been told that he had gone to the hospital in San Germán because he might have had Dengue. Great, just what we needed, to have our baptism for the week go down with dengue. But we prayed and then went out looking for where he might have been, and after like an hour of searching, finally found his grandma, who called his mom, and we reset a cita for Saturday morning. I was spiritually drained after that, because we had just been following the Spirit that whole night. And then Saturday. Wow.
Saturday morning comes and we go with Elder Durfee to Narayan's for his baptismal interview. He passed! So that was great. But then we also had another young man named Brian who we had set a baptismal date for the 29th. We taught him with his friend there, Hector, who is a member and the grandson of the bishop. We hadn't taught him all week because he was always busy, but Saturday morning we went out with the determination to teach him and interview him for baptism that night. However, we had heard from Hector's mom that she had talked to Brian's mom and she didn't really want him to be baptized. But we went out anyway. So we go to their house, and Brian's brother comes out FINALLY after like 20 minutes of calling at the house, and says that Brian's in Ponce with his aunt and his mom is working at a baker in Los Indios, which is an area in Guayanilla kind of far away. So we go to the only bakery in Los Indios and ask for Karen, Brian's mom. She doesn't even work there; but they say there's another bakery in Barinas. So we go there and check, and it ends up that Barinas is in Yauco, and she doesn't work there either. As we started searching the bakeries in the pueblo, Bishop calls and Elder Caal tells him what we're doing, and I guess Bishop knows Karen and tells us where she really works - a bakery in Magas Abajo, which is much closer to her house than her son had told us. Whew. So we race over there and ask for Karen, and it turns out she doesn't even work that day! Agh! So we go back to the house and Brian is there. We talk to him a bit and ask him to bring out his mom. As I'm reparking the car so that cars can get past, Brian's mom came out and just flatout rejected us. Harshly, too. She said something along the lines of "I don't want him getting baptized in your church or ever going there again. I don't want you passing by here ever again, and I don't want to see you ever again. Thanks." (Lots of "ever agains" haha). And then she slammed the door. By the time I had gotten out of the car, it was all over. Heartbreaking.
|With Elder Caal and Narayan|
But then later that day we had Narayan's baptism, and I felt honored enough that he asked me to baptize him. :) So that was really special for me, and a great experience. And last night we had a conference put on by Elder and Sister Tesch for the youth of the Stake who are preparing for missions, and it was just amazing. The Spirit was so strong, and it was a great atmosphere. :) So that was a nice way to end the week. But it was just a week of ups and downs I guess for all of us! But I know that as we keep pushing forward and enduring to the end, everything will work out all right.
I love you all so much. Mom, Dad, and Marilee, I love you all. :) Thank you for all that you do and for your support, and I really hope that everything works out with you guys. I will keep you in my prayers as always.
Con muchísimo amor,
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission