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