LuvDigiScraps's Awesome Mission Pics album on Photobucket

28 October 2013

Week 100: Have a Good Time with Halloween

Well... it never stops! The craziness doesn't stop!

Mom - Well the sign looks great! I like it a lot. It's gonna be weird going back to a Utah ward... but it'll be fun. :) Sounds like Stake Conference went well! Did they talk about Hastening the Work?? I bet... that seems to be a pretty overarching theme these days, as it should be. Anyway, I hope you survive the week, Mom! Have a good time with Halloween and everything, I know that it's pretty much your favorite holiday ever. ;) Love you!
Dad - Yes, please send pictures!! I'd love to see how it's all going. And yes, I'd be happy to make a movie for ya. YES, I'm so happy BYU beat Boise State!! That's awesome!! It'll be a blast to have you here!! And don't get me wrong, I am excited to see you, but it's just sad to know that it's all coming to a close here... but at some point it has to happen and then it's time to move on in life, right? It'll be a fun time here in PR, and I'm starting to think of how to get things all set up. :) Anyway, have a good time with Halloween, and be safe!! Love you!

So... yeah, another crazy week. This week we had a great week in teaching people here in Guaynabo. We were contacting in a caserio and we found this great, humble family! They let us in right there and we taught them a little bit about how to have a more united family. They were really receptive and they really enjoyed the lesson. We had a great experience with them on Sunday. We left church during Sunday school and went over to their apartment and invited them to come to Sacrament meeting at 11:00. They said they would! The mom and oldest son got ready and came with us to church! We had a member meet us out front and he drove them to the church and they seemed to really enjoy it. It was an awesome experience!! We're really hoping that this family can progress and feel and experience the blessings of the Gospel in their lives.
E. Gardner & E. Turbovsky with friends
at the ward Halloween party
Besides that, we also had a Halloween activity in our ward, and we had a few investigators come to that also!! It was such a great blessing to see them enjoying themselves and having a good time. They got to know a few of the members, which is awesome! That was a good step for them I think. It was a fun activity, and made me think a lot about activities back home haha... it was combined with the Metro (English speaking) ward, so it was a big dinner and then a trunk-or-treat. We bought candy and we gave it out to the kids. It was a blast. :)

But yeah, things are going great. Life's good. Puerto Rico is hot and humid. It rains a lot. But the work is priceless. I know that God has prepared a Plan, and it is His Plan of Salvation. He loves us and wants us to go back and live with Him. He's prepared the way, and all we have to do is follow Him (because Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth and the life". He lives and loves us.

Thank you for everything, I love you all!! Stay strong! :)

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner

Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

21 October 2013

Week 99: Speak Like a Puerto Rican

Well... that's probably the most emails I've gotten my whole mission! Again, thanks to everyone who wrote me. :) 

Mom - I just have to say that I love you Mom! You and Dad pretty much just crack me up :) Anyway, it was alright, kind of hot. No cake, but I don't really care anymore. :) I'm glad that you're doing well Mom. Please try not to can any of my things... I'd really appreciate that. Speaking of, I'll be sending home a package with some stuff (for me) that won't fit in my luggage. So if you would be so kind as to place that package in my room,that would be great. :) And don't can it! Te amo mamá, y será un gran día cuando nos reunimos de nuevo. Trato de no pensar mucho en aquel día todavia, porque me falta mucho tiempo! Pero el tiempo se está acabando. Te amo mucho! :)
Dad - Well, I counted 17 emails... but that's still a record high!! Thanks again :) I'm sorry the Halloween things aren't going as well as planned haha... but I'm glad you're still having fun, especially with Marilee. :) Your line about the socks made me laugh so hard! That's pretty funny. Well… wow, I can't believe time is going by so fast... October's almost over... :( WHERE did all the time go?? Anyway, I probably won't know what time to come get me on the 3rd until probably December 2nd haha... Anyway, I love you Dad. Thanks for everything you have taught me. :)

ANYWAY so the highlight of yesterday was getting told by this Puerto Rican lady we contacted that we should come back when I had learned to speak in a Puerto Rican accent. Charming, right? Little does she know that I can indeed speak in a Puerto Rican accent, but she wouldn't be able to understand me if I spoke in it ;) Hehe no, we did have a good lesson and dinner with this sweet member family yesterday, and that was pretty cool. 

It was actually a pretty normal week, even though we had a few meetings. We had two on Tuesday with the new missionaries and trainers, and then one on Thursday morning with some of the zone and district leaders. They were pretty sweet meetings, and we learned a lot! 

Anyway, I just want to close with my testimony that I know that this church is the only true church on the face of the earth. It is the Kingdom of God which has been established in preparation of Jesus Christ's Second Coming. It's true that other churches have parts of the truth, but there is, as there was when Christ was on the earth, only ONE church that has every last tiny piece of truth that there is, and it is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is not a church formed by man, and it's not a reformed church - it is Christ's church here on the earth and it is lead and guided by Jesus Christ Himself through His prophet, Thomas S. Monson. His authority is here. Revelation is here. A prophet and 12 Apostles, just like it says in Ephesians 2:19 and 4:11-14. It's all here just like it was when Jesus walked the earth. I know it with great surety, and I know that He lives.

Well, we'll just keep plugging along. Thanks for everything you guys. :) I'll be seeing you pretty soon! I love you!

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

15 October 2013

Week 98: Time Is FLYING By...

Well wow... another crazy week gone by way too fast haha.

Mom - Honestly I'd rather be released in person haha... and I'd like to stay a missionary for as long as I can, so I think it can wait 'til we get home. I like the sign with the one M, I think it's a cool idea. However, I would add something about donating the food to the Utah Food Bank, just so people don't think that we take it and eat it haha. In any case, I'm glad it's all worked out and you'll be able to spend some time here in the sunny Caribbean! :)
Dad - Well I must say, that's a pretty sweet addition to the Haunted Hollow! I'd like to go shoot zombies with a paintball gun haha... that's pretty sweet. It sounds like you're having the usual headaches that come with October... sorry. And all I have to say to people who have that doubt about no proof is Alma 30:44. Basically just what you said. 

So yeah, it was a crazy week. We had transfers at the beginning of the week, and had to do that. There were 18 incoming missionaries, so … yeah, just think about that! We drove around the whole island on Monday, picking up missionaries to take to the islands, and then on Tuesday night after helping get all the new missionaries in, we had to drive to Arecibo taking 2 missionaries there haha... so yeah, it was kind of crazy. :) Besides that, we had a pretty good week! 

Cool experience of the week: we were contacting in a caserio here close to the church, and we talked to this lady who said that she had been looking for a church for a long time. We talked a bit about the Restoration, and then left her a pamphlet to read, and we set a return appointment for the next day. Sadly, we weren't able to get a member to come with us, so we couldn't teach her, but when we went back, the very first question out of her mouth was "where can I get a copy of the Book of Mormon?" We were ecstatic! We immediately gave her one and invited to read and pray about it. She said she would do so and teach her 4 children from it. Amazing! The Lord truly is preparing the hearts of people out here - we just need to be able to find them.

We've also been able to teach other investigators, and to see progress in them. There is one man who is progressing really well. While we teach, it appears as though he's not understanding, but when we ask follow-up questions, we realize that he's understood every word! He said he'd be baptized on the 9th of November, so our goal with him is to get him to church this Sunday.

One thing we've felt impressed to do in our area is to visit all the active member families and share the message of the Restoration with them, and then talking a bit about Hastening the Work of Salvation, and then inviting them to pray about somebody with whom they can share the Gospel. This past week we had a couple of really great experiences in teaching the member families, and the Spirit is always so strong with them, because they add their testimonies, and they really realize how important this message is to them. We have a few more appointments like that set up for this coming week, so we're looking forward to that.
So yeah, it's been a good week, good times. :) Something I want to ask you to do though; I was thinking that it's about time to start recording piano music. I don't know what connections you may have or anyone you or others might know who would be willing to record music and sell it, but I have about 4 or 5 songs right now in my head that I think would be ready to record once I got home. So just something to think about. :)

Anyway, I love you! Thanks for everything. :) Look forward to hearing from you next week! 

¡Echamo' pa'lante!

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

08 October 2013

Week 97: Well I Absolutely LOVED General Conference!!

Mom - well I don't really know how you did it, and it must have been the Lord, but that's great that it all worked out! President hasn't said anything about it to me, but it's kind of a busy week with transfers and everything going on. We'll see what he says in the coming days. That's awesome though! It's really interesting you mention working at the MTC, because that's been my plan for a while. I would LOVE to work there and help out new missionaries and continue to teach the gospel. I'm hoping that I'll be able to!
Dad - If you could send me Matt's address, there's a couple things I want to send to him. I was planning on giving them personally, but I can send them, that's fine. The classes look good, so do whatever you need to now. And it's crazy that Halloween is just around the corner... wow! And thank you for the GREAT news that the Cougs threw down on Utah State!! YES! :)

Anyway, like I said, I loved conference!! I can't write too much because we have to go around the island today and bring in a couple missionaries for transfers, but I'll just say this: we have to follow the words of the prophets. If there's anything that I've learned on my mission, it's the importance of following their words. It's INCREDIBLE to me how many talks were given about Hastening the Work of Salvation! Absolutely incredible. There were also a lot of talks about the dangerous times in which we live, and the importance of women and their divine roles as mothers. I counted like 4 or 5 different times for each of these topics. It was SO good. I don't know how much more animated I can be about it haha, it was GREAT! :) I can't say I had a favorite, but if I did, I'd probably say Elder Ballard's. Unite and Hasten the Work!! Look up, not down, go forward, not backward! Up and forward, not down and backward! Awesome conference indeed.
We also had a pretty good week, but I can't really go into details because of time. Also, to all who wrote me this week, I will write back next week when there is time... sorry! But thank you so much for your letters and kind words, they do mean a lot. :) 
I bear my testimony of the importance of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. They are called of God, and though they may make mistakes as human beings, their words are God's words, and as we follow them, we will not be lead astray. It isn't really an option: we must follow their words. I know that they will tell us what we should do. I know that God has always used prophets to guide His children, since the days of Adam to right now, Thomas S. Monson. Jesus Christ lives and directs His Church through these prophets.
Anyway, I love you all and thank you for everything!! I look forward to hearing from you next week. :)

Con mucho amor,

Elder Kimball Ray Gardner

Puerto Rico San Juan Mission