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25 February 2013

Week 65: February – Gone!

I heard about some big snowstorm that hit Utah from some tourists on Sunday, so I hope you're still surviving the winter cold! And I hope you have fun with the hiding of the Easter eggs in the snow! ;) Haha anyway, that's great news that BYU beat Utah State in basketball, thank you for that!

Anyway, this week was pretty amazing. It's incredible how the Lord guides us to His elect, because we were led and guided to a family of SIX! The familia B..., and they live in Cantera. They're a beautiful family, and so humble and receptive. They're dependent on a ride to church, and so weren't able to come when their ride failed, but they wanted to, and they already said they'd get baptized! I'm so excited to work with them. Besides that, we got a referral from the Metro sisters named Ricardo who is also so prepared! He is a fruit from the train contacting project we've been doing in the mornings, and he's so open and receptive to what we teach, and he was all ready to go to church on Sunday, but thought it was at 9:30 at night. It was interesting though, because we ran into him at the church at 9:30 (we were out with the bishop setting our baptismal date), and were able to talk with him and clarify for next Sunday. He's so great and I'm so excited to see where he goes!

On top of that, we had received another referral from the train contacting, and we found a new investigator, their neighbor, and then we found them and a few other people who live around them. In total, there are about 7 new investigators we were able to teach yesterday and set up return appointments. Amazing! It's incredible how the Lord provides when we simply asked. Elder Durfee and I talked to each other about what would happen if we specifically asked for a baptism. So we did. And look at what's happening now in Santurce.

Speaking of baptisms, we set a baptismal date last night with C... R...! Bishop came with us to the appointment, and it was fantastic, and very spiritual. She's very interested in family history, so we're hoping that it will help her stay focused and set on her goal.
With Hno. Feliz

Oh, and we had another little miracle with Hno. Celso Feliz, our recently turned active less-active. He came to our English class, and we asked if he could visit an investigator quickly with us afterward. He said no at first, but as the evening went on, he said "I'll drop you off over by their house". On our way over, he told us he'd drop us off AT her house, and then as we passed by, he said he'd come in with us! However, she was on her way out, but we were able to talk with her briefly about if she had read in the Book of Mormon, and about why it's important to read from it. And then Hno. Feliz invited her to church! It was fantastic. After, he told us "You know, I really enjoyed that!" That was a really great experience, and I'm glad and thankful to have been a part of it. He's a great guy, and he's on the way back home. :)

It was a pretty crazy week, full of frustrations and happiness, and we saw the hand of the Lord in our work! It was amazing, and I'm so thankful to have been a part of it. It's tough, and tiring, but I'm more happy and content than I have been in probably my life. :) I love you all so very much, and don't worry Mom, when I come home I will leave again, but I'll be a lot closer. :) I love you all so very much and hope you're all doing great! Love you!!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

11 February 2013

Week 63: Elder Andersen’s Visit

Mom - Let me just tell you though that I admire you so much for your resilience. You're a great example to me, and I thank you for it! I love you, Mom! 
Dad - And wow, that does look like a lot of snow back home! Hope it doesn't spoil too many Easter plans haha ... (it's crazy to think it's already Easter again. Wow!). Anyway, I love you Dad :)

We had an interesting week, with a really fantastic weekend. :)  We had some really sweet lessons this week, and actually one of them committed to live the Law of Chastity and is going to get married this week!! At least, we hope. :) But yeah, that was really sweet, and he's progressing really well. Also, this other lady we're teaching is just so prepared, and actually defends us against the people around her when they start talking bad about us. Like last night the fact that we don't drink coffee was brought up, and her friends and stuff started bashing on us, but she just was like "you don't know anything about it, let them explain!" and stuff like that. It was really pretty hysterical haha.

This week I've been dealing with some nasal congestion and stuff, and for the past few days haven't been able to hear very well because I've been all plugged up and stuff haha. But it's been good. :) 

Anyway, the event of greatest importance this week was the visit that we got as a mission from Elder Neil L. Andersen. :) That was AMAZING!! So Saturday morning we all meet in Trujillo Alto, and I played the prelude (for an Apostle!!!), as we waited for him to come. He then arrived, and the Spirit was so strong. The whole mission shook his hand, and then we began. I also sang in an octet, singing "Ye Elders of Israel" which was really powerful, and the Alvarados were crying as they spoke together to begin the meeting. After, the Rasbands (Elder Ronald A. Rasband and his wife) spoke to us, as well as the Zivics (from the area presidency), and then Sis. Andersen did for a bit. Then for an hour, Elder Andersen spoke and gave a presentation about the difference between temporal and spiritual things, and that we don't speak or teach about temporal things, but we teach eternal things, or the things that can't be seen; like faith, repentance, miracles, the power of prayer, etc. It was a fantastic talk, and then after they all left. The next day, Sunday, was the San Juan Stake Conference, and he spoke there as well. It was a really great experience, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. :) There are a couple of pictures from the Alvarados that they sent to the mission that I will send to you too. 

And then last night we get the information about transfers. Uh-oh. Elder Peacock has been transferred to Aguadilla, on the other side of the island! This moves me from ZL2 to ZL1. Yikes. But I get a companion that I have worked with before, and that I think will help us both out a lot: Elder Durfee! They moved him up from Yauco to here in Santurce with me. :) So that was a crazy change, along with a few other ones in the zone. It promises to be an interesting transfer, but I think it will be a good one. I'm excited to see what happens. :) 

But yeah, I can't really think of much else to say. It was a good week, and we're really hoping that with the visit of Elder Andersen, we'll be able to see some miracles here in Puerto Rico. We're close to baptizing some of our investigators, so I'm really excited for that. :) 

I love you all so very very much, and pray for you daily. You're all very important to me, and I know that the Gospel is what gives us happiness. :) Thank you all for all that you do, and I look forward to hearing from you again next week. :) 

Much love,

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

04 February 2013

Week 62: 10 for the 10 Commandments

This wasn't the very best week over here. Nobody is accepting the invitation to be baptized, and we didn't have anybody in church either. We have some really great investigators, but nobody who's willing to take that next step. 

However, we did have a really cool experience yesterday I want to share. We were out in Old San Juan on Saturday morning, doing a plaza cleaning with the church group (a bunch of groups were invited), and we even got a picture with Carmen Yulin, the San Juan city mayor! Big whoop. Haha anyway, after it was over, this guy called me over and introduced to me as Hno. Feliz, a less active we had been searching for for a very long time. We talked a bit, and he told us we could go by his house Sunday morning. We went yesterday with the EQP, and we taught about coming to church. He said he was going through a really hard time, losing his wife and kids (divorce) and stuff, and he just didn't want to go to church. But we were persistent, and at the end, he took a quick shower, got all dressed (suit and all!) and came to church! Afterwards, we talked, and he told me that he felt great, that he was going to buy a new triple combination, and that he would be going next week to the special Stake Conference in Trujillo. It was a really great experience, and a testimony that miracles do happen for less active members.
Besides that, we had our zone council on Friday, and a bunch of the DLs were invited. No changes, but it was interesting to see which district leaders were invited, because a lot of the ZLs now are going home soon, so some changes are on their way. Elder Durfee was there, which was cool, as well as Elder Duclos. They're both pretty great. :) Oh, and one really cool thing, remember C... and R..., from Guayanilla? They got married and baptized on Saturday!! I wasn't able to go, but I was just so happy that they came unto Christ. It was marvelous to hear about that. :)
Elder Andersen will be coming this weekend on Saturday, so that will be amazing!! He'll also be in the Stake Conference in San Juan on Sunday, so I get a nice double dose of Elder Neil L. Andersen. It will be great.
My prayers are with you. I know the Lord is mindful of you. Just know that I love you all so very much. You too stay strong and true!

With much much love and care from Puerto Rico,
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission