Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012

I'm sorry it's Tuesday, hopefully I didn't give you a heart attack or anything!  Hello everyone, by the way :)  So things are going AWESOME here. I love it here already. There are so many cool people and things to tell, and I don't have a lot of time, so it's going to be a random sporadic email but you'll enjoy it! First I'll answer your questions:

Yes, I am in the northeastern part of Albuquerque right at the base of the Sandia mountains, or the Watermelon mountains haha :) Look up La Mirage apartments and that's where I live!
The trip here was well... awesome. I was right, we did sit in first class! It was so weird. Thank you again! thats what all the other three elders in my group say too (our family are Skymiles members, which gave Tyson and his fellow Elders some unexpected flying benefits--it's never worked for us, but we're glad it worked for him this time!). We got really nice special treatment. It was so weird, yet very comforting if I do say so myself :D But we didn't get any missionary opportunities because I was on the side with only one seat and the window, and the other elders were either by a different elder or by a Mormon! So that didn't work out too well. But yes, it was 1st class. Rather AWESOME.

My first impression of Albuquerque..... Desert. Even worse than Mountain Home haha, but there's still plenty of trees and everything. It was just a giant city, I don't remember where JD and Janet lived, but from what I remember from their house I'm in a totally different area haha. President and Sister Miller are amazing. They took good care of us that first night, and we ate really good. I'm eating salad and vegetables now, so be proud of me :) I figure I better here while people don't know I don't like it, or they would think I'm even weirder than they probably think I am! The mission home was a really nice house, with pictures of Christ everywhere obviously, but it wasn't nearly as impressive as the mission home Grandma and Grandpa Madsen had in France. Which by the way was bought by the church through Elder Waite's grandpa! I thought that was cool. So he's been to that same house. I thought that was awesome actually. They fed us this chicken salad thing with mandarin oranges and grapes, and then dinner was meatloaf and potatoes. So I felt right at home! Elder Foster from a different district grows potatoes--he's from Rigby or something, and his parents sent President and Sister Miller a box full of Idaho potatoes to feed us. How cool is that? So that was very delicious.

I really like Elder Calles too. He's been out 20 months but he's not lazy or super excited to go home. He's actually pretty upset at how fast time is going. He's served on the Indian Reservation, in Las Cruces, in Las Vegas(NM) and in Albuuerque but other areas of Albuquerque. So he knows his way around. I'm still getting there! But he loves sports, he loves music, and we're a really good match. Hopefully I don't annoy him with anything, we haven't gotten to that point yet! We work very well together I think though. So again, I'm blessed with a great companion. Our apartment is pretty nice, it;s just us two so we have a kitchen, couches, recliners, beds, bathroom, washwer and dryer, and desks. It's so nice. and we have a Chevy Malibu :) :) :) hahahah so I have a car!!!! It's such a blessing since I'll be walking EVERWHERE in Argentina. I've really been spoiled. This area is the RICH area of Albuquerque. but everyone is super nice! I've had some pretty interesting lessons and even the well-off ones are super humble beacuse well they've worked to earn it all! It's amazing, I definitely was humbled there. I expected proud people, but like the bad proud. See, one lesson learned already while I'm here! In one week. I think I'm becoming such a better person honestly. I can't wait to get to love this people so much that when I leave for Argentina it will be just as hard.

So every night so far we have eaten with members, and we have it scheduled with a member every night until well, October. Haha so that's pretty cool. Mom, Dad, your karma is coming back to bless me! Haha plus we were in Chipotle to eat lunch yesterday (yes I know, I'm so blessed. I love it haha) And a random stranger comes up and pays for our food, and we learn that he just moved into the La Cueva ward three days ago. People are really nice here. They love us!! It's weird being on the receiving end to be honest. And since we just moved into all three areas and wards instead of two, we've even had two families signed up to feed us on one night... and we've pulled a couple doubles already. Oh my goodness, I have never been so full in my life. Beacuse they feed us GOOD. They keep giving us food and we can't say well actually, I'm full, I already ate dinner, so Elder Calles and I just suck it up. Surprisingly, I'm still not gaining or losing weight. Weird. Give it a couple months and hopefully I'll change that! With muscle of course haha. I'm working out every day so that's good for me.

Anyway, the situation is weird. I'm with Elder Calles, who is an English Elder. Our area is English speaking, no one speaks Spanish really... get the picture? Yeah, I don't use my Spanish anymore. It's getting rough because I don't want to forget everything!!!!! But I think I'll be okay. God does bless us with opporutnites though, we taught a recently reactivated family last Thursday and their mother-in-law was there, and she only speaks Spanish, she's Catholic, and she said we could teach her. So I taught her in Spanish by myself! That was really humbling but very cool. The mother in the family speaks Spanish and English and she said my Spanish was really good for just getting out of the MTC. So I took that to heart. Maybe I still sound like a gringo, but at least I can get the important points across!

And the first Sunday..... 10 1/2 hours of church. Three wards, plus meetings for each ward. It was a BLAST. We were struggling by the third ward to keep our eyes open but we did it! And we taught gospel principles class twice and things went really well. The hardest thing is remembering names.... but I'll get it! Just after some time. But what's really cool is that I've met so many people that know where Mtn. Home is!! I actually ate dinner with the Terry family, an older couple, and they had a wedding announcement for Ashley Christiansen and her fiance on their fridge. They are the fiance's grandparents! How weird is that??? And I met a family on Sunday who knows Carrie and Steve, Apparently the husband was in the Ambassador's program thing with Carrie, so Carrie told them to keep an eye out for me since I was coming down here, and wow--I'm in their ward. I'm so blessed. I'll say that a thousand times. Make sure to tell Steve and Carrie about it even though I'm sure they'll already know. This family was SO excited to find me haha, I felt loved already :)

Okay, I need to get some worldy things out of the way. The first lesson I taught in Bear Canyon was in a gated community and we couldn't find the right house. We circled past this house with a really nice Mercedes and a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and a car under a covering. The third time we drove by the wind lifted the cover... THEY HAVE A FERRARI!! A really nice Italia 458 one at that!!! And then we ate at the Allens' house and he bought himself a Porsche Carrera or something like that for his 40th birthday. So yeah... I got to sit in the drivers seat, hold the wheel, rev the engine... it was awesome haha. This has nothing to do with missionary work but it's so cool! Other than that, the houses are huge, we've been really spoiled, and things are going great. In missionary things too, not just worldly unimportant things like really nice super exotic cars...Also some older guy in one of our wards knows Papa. This is really a crazy small world.

Okay enough of that. So I only have a few minutes left, I know its taken a while to type this, but this will give you a good read! I'm excited for everything that's happening for you all in the next couple months. Enjoy the reunion, family, and enjoy all the fun activities! Things are going so well here. I had a baptism the first Saturday here, although it was already planned, I just came into the ward at the right time. I didn't have anything to do with it, but I was glad I could enjoy the spirit of the event! One more soul brought to Christ. It's amazing what missionaries can do if they teach with and by the spirit. I know that more than ever now. And I have 22 months more to make it even better! I'm way excited to be here. I really am. I love teaching and I love knocking on doors even! The first tracting experience for me was before a lesson appt and we knocked on this guy's door, he opens the door, gives a huge dramatic/sarcastic sigh, and says oh boy... so we just said hello. And he said " Jesus Christ is our Master, our Lord and our Redeemer. Have a nice day." So we asked if we could talk more, he made a dramatic pause to act like he was thinking about it, then just said Nope. And we asked his name and he did the same, then said Nope. So we told him to have a nice day and we left. Great first experience! Now we drive by his house all the time and he's out working and we just wave and call him friend :) I really have been a lot nicer now that I'm here and realize my purpose. So don't worry I'm not going to be a mean brother when I get back, I promsie I'm becoming better. and I'm doing that by helping others be better! Isn't it weird how that works? :)

Anyway, before I go I want to tell you that we always need to be aware of our situation at all times, because people and things are placed there for a reason. That's a catch phrase yes, but it's so true. I've met three people here already that have changed my perspective on missionary work, on the gospel, and on life itself. There's Richard who was baptized about 4 months ago yet is the most solid member I've honestly ever met. He goes to every meeting, sits up front, listens intently and takes notes, and is the most excited person I've ever seen in this church, even more so than Bishop Rhead haha :) and I'm trying so hard to follow his example, because we should be excited every week to learn more about this Gospel, because we'll never know the fullness of it! His wife is still hesitant but that's our goal, to get her and their kids to join him in the church. She comes to church, just hasn't officially joined yet obviously. Then there's Bishop Breinholt. He is such a cool guy. He is bishop, yet he seems like he's maybe 35? But he's so successful and outgoing and the three wards we have are honestly the most devoted to msisionary work that I've ever seen. It's amazing. We get so many offers for member's houses to go to for lessons and for dinners, the people are just amazing here. I miss everyone at home, yes, but now that I'm a missionary this place is perfect!

So yeah, things really are going great here. I miss you all and love you all, but as always, don't worry about me :) I'm doing everything I can to be focused and work hard. I love it here. I already don't want to leave. And there's the thunder and lightning! I got here in perfect time for the random storms--I love it!! Anyway, good luck with everything that you are doing, and just try your best! You'll get what you want if you work hard enough for it! I know that's true, because I'm working hard every day to bring myself closer to Christ, and it's already worked so much. Don't ever quit on that journey. We're all part of the journey, and I thank each of you for being a part of mine as well as your own.

Elder Tyson Gibbons

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