Well fam, I survived; but just by the hair of my chinny-chin chin! When I said that there were rough waters ahead, I didn't think it would be like this... haha funny story to come.
Mom - Yes I've had mofongo, but I think only once in my entire mission. :( It's really really really good, and I wish people would make it for us more often haha... however I have had mangú a lot, which is a really good Dominican dish, and it's kind of similar. And yeah, it's weird knowing that all this is happening like this, but I think it's all going to work out just fine. In any case, I hope you all have a blast in Yellowstone!! :)
Dad - It's been pretty hot here too, so at least we're on the same page for this part of the year, right? And are you serious, Elder Reed is done tomorrow???? Wow... that was quick. And Elder Hill... holy cow that's unbelievable. That was fast. Then Elder Gillespie and then Elder Harward and Elder Snow and then Elder Paxman and then.... me. :S That. Is. Unbelievable. My goodness haha... wow.
Anyway, so here's the funny story for this transfer: last Monday night we get the info, and I'm told that I'm going to Rio Grande to open the Rio Grande zone with Elder Patiño, a new zone leader. I was sad to leave Santurce, but I was super excited to go to Rio Grande! I had visited it before, and I had loved it, so I was looking forward to that. However, on Tuesday, I get a call from a different elder who told me that he was going to open a new zone in Rio Grande with Elder Patiño and he needed some information. I was really confused and told him that that was what I had been assigned to do, and he said "No, the APs just told me 4 minutes ago."
So I called Elder Peacock to ask what was going on, and he said he'd call me back in a bit. 45 minutes later, he calls and says that he's got my answer for me, and asks if I'm ready. I say yes, and then out of nowhere, Pres. Smartt starts talking, and he asks where I'm serving and if I'd like to go serve in Mayaguez. I say that's fine, and then he says he's joking. He then asks those fateful words: "Elder, are you willing to accept the assignment to serve as assistant to the president?" Um… what?? Was not expecting that, nor did I ever want to hear those words. However, I did accept, and so now Elder Peacock is happily training in Vega Baja, and I have been assigned to work in Guaynabo with my new companion Elder Mello (from Perú), and we are serving as assistants to the president. He's been AP for a while so he's helping out, and he's pretty much the best. :) We developed a good friendship while I was ZL when I'd call for stuff, so it's been a pretty easy transition companion-wise. Crazy, eh? So yes, I survived the transfers, but just barely ;) These will be some pretty interesting last 4 1/2 months, eh?
Oh by the way, mile marker moment: July 20 was the 2-year mark of receiving my mission call. Remember that day? Wow. Remember how long the wait was? Yeah... not gonna be that long this time I don't think.
Anyway, we had a pretty cool experience with an investigator this week. His name is Berto, and he's living with a less-active member named Kate. He's had a smoking problem for a while, and so when we got there, Elder Mello asked for the left over cigarette butts. He brought them out, and Elder Mello asked if we could blend it all up. They were pretty confused at first, but they let us do it. So we blended up the cigarettes with a bit of ice and water, and made a cigarette shake! The goal with this was to have him drink a little bit and create a bad reaction to the taste so that whenever he smoked again he would just feel sick. We brought it out and he just looked at it and said "I never want to smoke again". We then had a sweet lesson talking about how Satan disguises harmful things and makes them look good. We also talked about agency and how there's only 2 real choices: liberty and eternal life, or captivity and death. So now they have a wedding date for the 3rd and his baptism is set for the 4th. It'll be a struggle, but I'm confident that it will all work out. :)
Needless to say, I'm excited to teach with Elder Mello! He's a great guy, really humble, and we get along great.
Anyway, like I said, it'll be an adventure! It already has been haha... but know that I love you all so much, and thank you for everything you do for me. :)
Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission