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30 May 2013

Week 78: Memorial Day

Well, it's been an interesting day haha... I'll get to it in a sec.

Mom - Well it sounds like you're still in "la brega" as people here say. I hope it all starts working out better. I'm glad you had a good bike ride. Is that all it is? I could ride that easy haha... not kidding either. That's like an average for a daily bike ride. That's great though, and it'll be a lot of fun to ride next spring, right? :)
Dad - Well lookie there, you did it! You're out from underneath the wheel! (long story - a parable by Pres. Alvarado) Well I bet you'll love that new calling, and I think it's fitting. A nice break for you until your next big calling ;) Hehe well good luck with that and with everything you're doing!

Anyway, today was different. We started with a meeting in the mission office with Elder J. Devn Cornish from the area presidency. That was pretty good, and then we had a short Mission Leaders'  Council with him for about an hour and a half, and then P-day! Crazy. So yeah, that was the morning, and the week was pretty good I think. Francisco was successfully confirmed, so no worries there. He's doing fantastic and progressing great - he wants to serve a mission, so that's awesome. We're working with him to get him all ready for that haha… so yeah. Besides that we're teaching a few other people who could be getting baptized here shortly also!!

Not much to say... I'm really tired (not much sleep last night) so... yeah. Hard to focus right now, and I'm still in my suit because we're locked out of our house. Ugh. Anyway, yeah, that's about it. Still smiling and happy. :)

I love you all so much, and I'm sorry it's a short email. Hard to think that it's already Memorial Day. Yikes. We'll hit the year and a half mark on Thursday. Congrats, right? Wow. Next week you'll get the year and a half picture. I feel like I just sent the year picture. Oh, speaking of, Mom, if you could email me a copy of the picture you took of me in front of the Provo temple the day I went to the MTC? I'd like to print it and put it in my journal. :)
Well, I love you family, and I pray for you always. I hope you're all doing great, and that you have a happy Memorial Day. Love and hugs and lots of rainy sunshine from Puerto Rico! :)  

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

20 May 2013

Week 77: Miracles Do Happen

Hey everyone, this week was a pretty good one! :) We saw some really great miracles here in the Metro area, and I had some really great opportunities to work with the district leaders in the zone. It was a good time. A lot of work, but totally worth it.
Mom - Well Elder Paxman is looking pretty aviatorish with those glasses ;) But it looks like he's enjoying himself haha... it's a nice tie he's got, too. I'm glad things are just kind of plugging along and that things are a bit more normal. And yeah Mom, don't worry, these 6 months will go by much too quickly.
Dad - Well it sounds like you've been having a good time with the garden haha... I hope that it brings some good stuff to eat this year... like tomato sauce and salsa that I can eat at the end of the year ;) he he but I'm glad that went well. Also, I've learned a lot about the Oath and Covenant, and that's really cool that you were able to give a talk on it! I bet it was great.
E. Gardner, Francisco, E. Caballero
Anyway, like I said, a pretty good week. We saw some really great results in the area, including our baptism of Francisco on Sunday!! That was awesome, and I'm really thankful for him. He had to have an interview with President, but it all worked out and he got baptized on Sunday. That was really cool. : ) Like I said also, I was able to work a bit with the district leaders in the zone, and I had a great time in Puerto Nuevo with a new missionary, Elder Foote, and we were able to see some miracles that day in his area.

It's a lot of work being a zone leader, and I don't think I sleep nearly enough; but the blessings that come from serving the missionaries in the zone and trying to help their needs are just fantastic, and so worth it. I am very happy to have had the chance to see what we saw. It was a good testimony builder, and for sure strengthened my faith.

In Santurce, we had some really good lessons, and taught some really cool people. We found a sweet family, and hopefully they'll progress! They asked us about baptism before we had even mentioned it, so that's a good sign of desire I think. They really want to change and they want happiness in their lives, so I'm really hoping they'll progress toward that. :)
La Perla

Um… but yeah, a good week and lots of work, but I'm happy and doing well. :) We have a mission conference next Monday, so I don't know how that's all going to work, and then we have our final interviews with Pres. Alvarado the day after, so that will be a sad, intense day haha... wow. 

Anyway, I love you all very much and pray for you always. Stay strong and don't let go of the iron rod! :)

With all the love of my heart,
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

14 May 2013

Week 76: Mother's Day Accomplished

Well, it was great talking to you yesterday! I had a great time and it's hard to believe that it was the last phone call. Wow. It was a good one though. :) But yeah, I hope you had a great Mother's Day, Mom!

Mom - So I think your hair looks pretty good! I was expecting it to be a lot shorter, so at first it didn't look all that much different because in my mind I had pictured it shorter, but it looks pretty good I'd say. It looks like Elder Thomas is having a great time taming llamas in Colombia haha... and Elder Barnes looks like he's having a blast in Blanding! Oh, and the cookie looked good.
Dad - Well thanks for the letter, I like it a lot. Marilee seems a lot older, so that was a bit different for me. She sounded pretty good:)

Anyway, not much more to say after all was said last night haha... um... what else happened this week... it rained a lot. We're in May and this is the month where it always rains, so we got a little bit wet. Um... oh yeah! I forgot to tell you, on Friday we went down to Ponce for a choir performance for the Celebracion Latinoamericana, and it was scheduled for an outdoor venue. We got all set up and ready to go, and 15 minutes before we were supposed to start, it started POURING rain. So everyone left. I was pretty bummed because there were members from Guayanilla coming, but they didn't because of the rain. :( So we made that trip to Ponce for nothing pretty much. (sigh) Oh well… such is life, right? Um... what else... not much, just the baptism coming up on Sunday! That will be cool, and I'll be sure to send some pics. I don't think I took any more pictures since last week, but if I did I'll send them right now. :)

Anyway, it was great hearing from you last night, and here we go with the home stretch… hard to think about and hard to believe. Wow. But that's that, and I look forward to reading about your week next week! Love you tons and hope you have a great week!!

Con muchisimo amor,

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

07 May 2013

Week 75: Just Another Week in Paradise

It's good to hear that things are just being normal for a little while.

Mom - You caught me just in time! I was just emailing you guys haha. I'm not exactly sure what to think about you chopping off your hair, but we'll see what I think next week haha... oh wow. I have heard that song you're talking about (Holding Hands Around the World), so I know what you mean! It's a really great song. :) And yes, I do remember Jonathan! He's a great guy. He lives in Yauco, and I started teaching him with Elder Durfee when we were down there. Good times. :)
Dad – About  the phone call on Sunday, I'm thinking that we're going to try at about 5:00 our time, which would be 2:00 your time. However, it could be any time after that. Just be ready and be watching from 1:00 and onward, although I think it'd be too early at 1:00 for you. So I'm planning on going to the member's house at 5:00, and it could be any time after, I don't know what my companion's plan is, but we'll figure it all out, I'm pretty sure we'll have the skype all figured out.
Vega Baja
Anyway, this past week was pretty crazy, we had our last zone conference with President Alvarado, and it was pretty intense. He talked about repentance and then about planning, so it was a good meeting. Really long, but really good. On Friday we had a Mission Leaders' Council (now replacing the Zone Leaders' Council) and that was pretty intense also, but really good. Besides that, we had a bunch of really great lessons this week, and we have a few people that can be baptized this month! One of them is named Francisco P…, and he's about 18 years old. He's great, and I am confident that he'll get baptized this month. There's also a guy named Modesto that can get baptized, along with a few others. 

It's great serving in Puerto Rico, and I don't think I could have asked for a better mission. It's really intense, and very hard and stressful, but at the same time so rewarding, and I feel free and happy and at peace with the world. :) I see the world differently, and I've learned a lot of things that I need to keep doing when this December rolls around.

Anyway, know that I love you all so very much. My prayers are always with you, and I look forward to Sunday! It's crazy to think that that's the last phone call before I see you again. Wow! Crazy how the time flies... Anyway, love you lots, and I'll talk to you soon. :) 

Con muchisimo amor
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission