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31 December 2012

Week 57: More Transfers & A Surprise

Well, the craziness doesn't stop coming. I'll just cut to the chase before I respond to your emails. A new zone opened in the mission today, the Metro Zone; and Elder Peacock and I have been assigned as Zone Leaders. Wow. So that's that haha... one month as DL and out of the blue, Zone Leader. Great… more responsibility. Anyway, I really LOVED seeing you all on skype on Christmas! It was great to talk to you all and I had a grand old time. :) I'm glad you had a decent Christmas and that the trip was at least somewhat enjoyable.

Mom - I really enjoyed Christmas and I had a great time talking to you all. :) It looks like you all had a good time in Vegas! I hope it all worked out all right and that you had a good time. :)
Dad - Those are some interesting changes that you told me about in the ward, and I hope it all worked out okay! Bro. Andreason is a great guy and a great fit there, that will be good. :) But we are still in the Evans Meadows Ward, right?
Marilee - Hey you! You're not sending any emails anymore, what's goin' on?? It was great talking to you on Christmas, and I hope you enjoyed/are enjoying your time off from school. :) Love you sis, and hope you're doing alright.

Anyway, this week has been crazy. I remember this time last year, I was in the DR! How crazy is that? Tomorrow is 2013 and thus begins the year in which I will be returning home, which is so weird to think about. I remember passing New Year's Eve in the DR and everything, and it's just odd to believe it's already been a year since then.
With President and Sister Alvarado

In any case, this week was really good, and I already told you what we were doing in the Mission Home for Christmas Eve and Christmas. On Wednesday we did a little more singing and stuff, and then finally went to our areas. I was able to work in Santurce for a couple days, and then we were back together to go to Cabo Rojo on Friday night for another presentation. That's when the transfer changes started happening, and President pulled people from the choir aside to talk to them. Saturday morning we sang at a baptism, and then in the afternoon went to Ponce and performed there, and then came back and did some more stuff. Sunday morning we went to a couple other wards, and then met back at the mission home, where President finally talked to me about this new assignment, and then announced all the transfers that affected the choir.

My old companion Elder Taylor, is gone to St. Kitts, West Indies. My new one is Elder Peacock, from Kaysville, Utah. He's great, and I'm super excited to work with him. Also, a couple other changes happened in the district, and now we're ZLs over a pretty small zone. So yeah, it's pretty crazy, and a lot of changes and stuff, but I'm excited and it will be good. I also feel slightly overwhelmed and quite underprepared, but I know if I just have a little faith, it will all work out.

But yeah, not much else to talk about, and it's a bit crazy here today trying to email since it's another holiday, and EVERYTHING closes on holidays here, so there are others waiting to write on this computer and I can't stay on too much longer. :S But there's not much else to say anyway besides... I love you! It was great to talk to you on Christmas, and we'll be talking again very soon on Mother's Day! But thank you so much for everything, and I hope you are all doing great. I love you all so much. :) And darn it, I just remembered that I left my SD card back at the house with all my pictures from the islands... :( but I have a few pictures I took this week on my new SD card, and I'll try and send them to you. But thank you again for everything and for the new socks and ties. :) They're great! Love you all so much!!

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner

Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

24 December 2012

Week 56: ¡Feliz Navidad!

Hey family! Not much time today either, but a little more. I'm in the mission home today and I will be tomorrow, since the choir is singing for all the zones that come in for their meals. It's pretty cool, and I'll be skyping from the mission home!

I'll be opening the packages from you tonight at our dinner here in the mission home, so I'll be able to talk about them with you tomorrow! Also, be prepared for only 45 minutes of talking... President is really being tough about that rule this time around, so we won't have a ton of time like last time, but it will still be great to be able to talk and see you guys! 

Anyway, things have been CRAZY the past couple of weeks, and last week was so short because it was the mission conference and the whole mission had to email, and we only had 5 minutes each to do so, and I got stuck with the iPad, so ... yeah, it was rough haha. Anyway, the past couple of weeks the choir has been traveling the Islands of the Sea, so I've been on St. Thomas, Tortola, St. Kitts, and Antigua. It's been nuts!!
It's been really great though, and we've seen a ton of miracles and blessings and everything. Besides that, we have been traveling around PR, and it's been really great seeing all the things we've been able to do. Anyway, we'll talk more tomorrow, but it's been a really different Christmas, but a really great one. :) I miss you guys of course, and that part has been tough, but it's been wonderful really getting to know my Savior even more. I'll be mailing my gift to Jesus as soon as I can, so you can put it in the tin. :)
I don't really know what else to say haha.. but I love you all and look forward greatly for our talk tomorrow! Have a wonderful Noche Buena tonight, and a great Christmas  morning! Talk to you tomorrow! (Oh and by the way, our zone got lucky enough to get Christmas Eve dinner... just like back home!) Love you all!!

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner

Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

10 December 2012

Week 54: Touring with the Choir

The craziness never stops for Elder Gardner! Haha it was a pretty adventurous week, I'll say. But it was good. I'll get to it in a second, though. 

Mom - Well I must say, the village setup is quite different from years past, but it looks good! That's sweet that Gage is headed to Colombia! It'll be a good experience for him down there. That's great that all these missionaries are heading out now from our ward!! ... I love you!
Dad - Just remember, we're supposed to come back to Puerto Rico and stuff in about a year from now! ;) That's cool about the choir, we're doing some pretty cool stuff here with the mission choir (details to come shortly), so that's cool!
Marilee - No email again?? Why you little..!!! Haha just kidding little sis, hope everything's going great and that you're enjoying life. :) Christmas break is coming soon!! 

Anyway, so it's been a bit of a crazy week, and this week should be even crazier. I'm supposed to be strengthening my area and stuff, but I have spent more time out of my area than in it. I don't feel like I've even worked there at all. I haven't even been to a sacrament meeting in my ward yet! Goodness. But it's all good, because I've been seeing a lot of cool things in the mission choir. This week we started Friday afternoon, and we sang in President's chiropractor's office in Plaza Las Americas. PLAZA LAS AMERICAS. That place is HUGE! It's this gigantic mall, and normally we're not allowed into malls unless there's a store (like JCPenney) with an outside entrance. But Friday we were allowed in and that place is enormous! Wow! So yeah, we sang there and I had my little electric keyboard to accompany the choir. Then we went to the Pontezuela ward and performed there, and then all slept together in the mission dorms, the Riverside apart.ments.

On Saturday, we woke up and after studies and stuff, went all together and all got in the urban train and started singing. Again, I had my keyboard, and we just rode the train to the end of the line and then back! Then we did a flash mob type thing with singing, in a food court in this other mall close by, and then we met up with the Alvarados in another mall and ate at that food court, and then sang again after. :) By the way, we got kicked out of both food courts for the singing haha, it was great. Then we went to a couple of hospitals and sang there, and then performed for the San Juan Stake Christmas Concert. That was a lot of fun. The songs are way a cool, and a couple of them we perform with a bell choir, and sounds awesome! Anyway, Sunday morning we drive over to the other side of the island (and by the way, I'm sick with a cold.. blech), and we sing in the San Sebastian and Aguadilla wards, and then do a quick concert for the Isabela ward, and then go sing in a Marriott hotel there in Aguadilla, and then finally drive back home. Wow. Long few days, but a ton of fun.

Also on Thursday, we had a leader.ship training meeting, which was not as intense as I had been dreading haha. It was actually way good, and I learned a lot. I'm still learning how to be a district leader, and every day brings new challenges and stuff, and I don't think I've ever been so tired in my life, but it's all good. :) It's good to learn and stuff and progress.

Anyway, I'm trying to think what I did teaching-wise. We did teach a few investigators, but they're all having some problems right now, and not wanting to be baptized. That's definitely going to be our focus for this week, to make sure that these people can progress toward baptism. I wish I knew more members and stuff, and I wish I knew the area better because I feel like I would be able to do more good and help out a bit more if I did.


Anyway, that's about it for the week. This week I'm going to the Islands of the Sea (some of the Virgin Islands) with the choir to perform there. The choir needs the piano player, so I get to go to all the islands to perform. :) It's pretty sweet, and I'm grateful for this talent that My Father in Heaven blessed me with. It'll be an adventure, because after that we have another weekend full of performing again haha.. wow. But at least this next Sunday we'll be in my assigned ward here in Hato Rey. But yeah, that's about it! Mom, just make sure to coordinate everything and send it by next week. I won't have a ton of time to write, but I'll be able to look and see when I'll be calling you guys. I love you all, and soon we'll be talking!! Love you!!

Con mucho amor, 

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner

Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: so sorry I had to cut some words in the letter, or change them in some way, because Google links them to something else. For example c-a-r gets linked to a site that's trying to sell you those items.

03 December 2012

Week 53: ANOTHER Crazy Week. And One Year!

Well, here we go! On the downhill slide... wow. It's crazy to think that a year ago today I was sitting in the MTC. I can't even believe it. Craziness!  Anyway, to your emails:

Mom - The decorations look great! I must admit, I miss normal Christmas stuff, and it's cool to see our decorations up. :) They put lights up here and stuff, and it's cool, but there's no snow and it just feels different.  I love that cool nativity scene you've got there! It looks sweet! Also, that's great to hear about Tosh and Madison, it's good to know I won't be the only missionary out from our ward haha... so that's good. Tell Tosh to look for a kid named Vernon Yazzie who probably lives down in that area. He's a Navajo, and I gave him a Book of Mormon already, so there's a seed planted there! I'll keep praying for you like always.

Dad - I will definitely be watching for those shirts! I bought a couple already, but it'll be good to have a full new array of white shirts. :) Also, I appreciate the thought about the Hostess stuff! It'll be good to keep a piece of history haha... or eat it, rather. And the oil will be greatly appreciated, thank you. I don't know what's happening with the Skype yet, I'm not entirely sure what's going to happen there. We haven't yet found a place to do it, but we'll continue our frantic search! But I look forward to talking to you all also, and it will be a great experience. :)

Marilee - Still no email?? Haha I'll write you in a second :)

Anyway, I don't know if the mission lets the parents know or anything, but this week, if you don't already know, I was called as district leader of the Hato Rey district. Not anything I wanted, and it's been a bit of a challenge. But it's been a good learning experience, and it's been crazy. Last week I was at the office when President comes bursting out of the office, shakes my hand, and basically pulls me into the office haha. We had an interview and he called me to be the district leader. He told me that he wanted Hato Rey to shine, and that he wanted 2 wards there. Wow. He said the metro area would be a zone in March, and I had to strengthen it before then. He said a ton of other stuff too that was pretty intense, and I left that office feeling like I had a ton of bricks on my back. Needless to say, I prayed hard that night. Oh, and he gave us 72 hours to fix up our apartment. It's right by the office, and pretty big, so a lot of missionaries visit and stuff, and a lot finish their missions there. Thus, lots of junk and stuff. So we repainted it, cleaned out really good, reorganized everything, and now it looks fantastic. :) President still hasn't seen it, but the senior missionaries in charge came by today and inspected it. Anyway, that's basically what we did Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We also went out to work and stuff, and we had some good lessons with some cool people, but we spent some time cleaning and painting and stuff. It looks really good.

Also, we had a choir performance Friday night, in CAGUAS!! So I got to go back to my first area on my year mark. :) It was really cool to go back and see all the members again and to talk with them. It was a cool performance too, and it was just a fun time. On Sunday we drove down to Ponce and then to Adjuntas afterwards and sang in both of the sacrament meetings. Then we came home.

But yeah, other than that, I feel like I haven't had a ton of time in my area, and I also feel quite inadequate to be a district leader. But something that Elder Stout, a sweet missionary and another district leader in the area told me is that the Lord qualifies those He calls; so if I just have some faith and do all I need to, the Lord will qualify me, right? Anyway, lots of stuff going on, and December is quite the busy month haha... it'll be crazy. Anyway, I just hope I survive to see 2013, and keep serving the Lord! I really hope to see changes here in Hato Rey. I'm already seeing some in the missionaries here, so that's good. But I saw tons of miracles and lots of changes in Guayanilla, and I'm confident that they can happen here, too. The key this time is that it has to all happen much quicker. But yeah, that's about it for the week. I'm really really tired, but I'm happy. :) It rains a lot, and we get wet a lot here, but it's all good. It's a great time here, and I can't wait to show you around here. I'm visiting all the best areas basically, to get to know the whole island so that when we all come back after my mission, you'll get the best tour experience of Puerto Rico ever. :)  

Anyway, I love you all, and I hope you're all doing great! I pray for you always, and I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful Christmas season. :)


Con muchisimo amor,
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner

Puerto Rico San Juan Mission