This past week has been really great! Mostly because I'm starting to adjust to the lifestyle and the weather and everything! I feel comfortable and I'm glad to be here helping whoever I can. To be honest this last week we had a few days that felt like busts. We didn't get in with anyone, no one answered the doors, and even appointments with members fell through! But we're excited for this new week because we keep getting referrals from members and new teaching opportunities! Like I said, the members here are awesome. They feed us food for one :) but they also report on their teaching and sharing and inviting opportunities they've had recently. It reminded me of all the things you've sent me in your letters mom! So keep up the good work. The members are amazing here but everyone back home or anywhere else can be the same! We really just have to open our mouths. It's simple, yet so difficult sometimes! Thankfully in a few ways I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I just talk and do my best. That's when the Spirit really takes over and things go even better! That's just one lesson I've learned in the last two weeks. Yesterday we went to all three wards again, yes, and it wasn't as hard as it was last week! I was impressed with myself. I didn't get tired until about the last 30 minutes of the last ward. It didn't help we were in a room with the lights off watching a video haha but it was a really good Sunday!
They had trek this last weekend and all three wards were focused on the amazing experience they had. It was so cool to hear all the youth get up and share their experiences and even some of the Ma's and Pa's and stake leaders who participated! It was a really good meeting in each ward. Of course, their wards always go over about 15-20 minutes (without fail) in sacrament meeting, so we have some problems sometimes getting to classes and things on time! But all is well. I really enjoy the Gospel Principles class too. Typically, if the person who was supposed to teach doesn't show or doesn't prepare, guess who gets to teach automatically? We do!! So I've taught plenty of lessons already haha, but it's really fun. There are always new people and I'm starting to get people's names down. It will still take a while, but that's okay. It was really humbling to see how so many of the youth, especially in the Eastridge ward, had grown in multiple ways from the trek. It made me think back to when I went on trek. To be honest I didn't learn as much as they did. I had great experiences and I have good memories and bad memories, but I didn't come away with the intended lesson that all these youth bore testimony about, and it made me pretty upset with myself for a little bit. Yeah it was years ago, but it upsets me that it took me, what, 6 years to learn the lessons that I should've learned that trip and had for the last 6 years of my life. I'm glad that the Spirit doesn't ever give up! Because I learned so much yesterday, even if it was in many people's eyes too late to learn that lesson. Don't ever give up on anything that seemed like a disappointment or failure at the time, because sometime later something will happen and you'll realize oh, that's what I was supposed to learn. It's a great experience, yet humbling! I got very emotional when I heard youth after youth explain to me what the lessons were from that trip, that the hardships of the pioneers had not been in vain, that God knew what they were going through and He didn't abandon them, He strengthened their faith through hardships and trials, and that's why we celebrate and revere the legacy of the pioneers, who gave up everything to cross the plains and establish basically Utah. And I realized that if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't be in this position today without a doubt.
One of the Pa's from the trip read a quote from the teachings of Joseph Smith, and I really enjoyed it because it applies to everyone in their lives, not just religion. "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things cannot and will not produce the amount of faith required to gain salvation and exaltation." How willing do we need to be in order to gain those? Well we're taught all through our lives that we need to focus on the important things and not the things that aren't going to matter later on in life. We may not be required to sacrifice and give up everything we have like the pioneers who crossed the plains were, and in a way that makes it harder for us to be as faithful. But we still have to sacrifice many things daily, whether its habit's, friends, hobbies, family, or especially our time. I realized that right now I don't know for sure if I would be willing and able to give up those things if the occasion required, but then I realized, well in a way I've alredy done that, for the next two years I've given up my family and friends and hobbies and most of all my time, and I've completely dedicated myself to serving the Lord. So without me even realizing, I must have enough faith to be out here right now doing what I am. It was a very uplifting moment when I realized that. How many people my age are still in school or working or partying or even doing the things I love to do, when I get to be out here learning, teaching, and growing closer to God? There are 50,000 missionaries in the world right now, and yet there are thousands and thousands more who have chosen not to be out here or who haven't been able to or even the ones who aren't members. I wish they could all have this opportunity. I'm humbled when I think about all the people who are better than me who are out here serving, yet I'm still allowed to be out here among them, doing what they're doing, and learning just as much as them. I'm lucky. There's no doubt in my mind that I'm lucky to be here. Lots of things could've gone wrong in the last 19 years since I was born that could've kept me from being here, yet I'm here. And I'm so thankful for that opportunity. And I hope that everyone who can and would be able to and wants to serve takes that to heart, and really does everything they can to be out here. It's not worth it to miss out on something of this size. Don't waste any opportunities!
Anyway, wow, I feel like I just gave a talk haha. But really, that's the biggest lesson I've learned in the past week! And it didn't happen until yesterday, so don't give up on learning anything because you never know when its going to pop up! I was discouraged a couple times during this week but I kept going and look what I got in return? It's amazing the blessings that God promises us if we will just do what we're supposed to! It amazes me that so many of the blessings are right in the scriptures along with the commandment or whatever it is we should do, and yet many people don't realize the importance of keeping simple or more important commandments! They will be blessed, it's a promise from the Lord, and He's not a lying God. It seems so simple yet many people don't understand the great blessing that we can receive from being obedient. What an impoprtant principle that is, to be obedient. Anyway, I hope things are going well, and I hope you enjoy the family reunion, my family! Sorry I'm not there, but to be honest I'd rather be here. Don't be offfended! haha :) I just love it here. I miss you all, that's for sure, but it's not the strongest emotion I have right now, that's the respect and love I have for the people here, and I'm not going to leave and give up on them yet ;) , not until I get to Argentina and start all over anyway!
So this last week I didn't have any more opportunites to speak Spanish, which was one of the bummers of the last couple days. All our appts with famiiles that I could've done that with fell through but oh well. And I haven't really been anyplace interesting! We're trying to get a meeting with this new convert Richard (who is the MOST SOLID spiritual guy! did I mention that last time?) and we want to get his family and go to the top of the Sandias on the tram or drive up there, so we're tyring to get permission if we can do that. We'd drive up there and eat and have a lesson with his family. We really hope that his wife warms up to this new change in his life and their family, and hopefully things all work out well! So that will be cool to go to the crest and look over all of Albuquerque and the valley. Maybe I'll have my SD card back by then??? Hopefully!! And other than that we don't have much time to go anywhere else. I guess I've been to the bowling alley which is pretty cool, since all missionaries bowl free :) So that's what we usually do P-days. But we also clean a little, prepare lesson plans for this week, shop, play basketball (trying to get them to play soccer! I'm much better at that), occasionally take a short nap and just relax in a way. We went to get haircuts too but I didn't need one because it was so short when I left the MTC! Anyway, that's pretty much our P-days. It's been fun!
Wow, that's awesome that Grandpa knows (or knows of) Bishop Breinholt. He's really the coolest guy, he's super nice and he loves missionaries! So why wouldn't I like him? These wards are great at missionary work. It makes our jobs more busy !(Which in this case is a good thing. We don't like to be bored, it means we're not teaching) So we are looking forward to a great week! We found two new investigators through a referral and we're hoping to get things going with them. My first real investigators!!! I don't want to mess anything up haha I want to do the best I can. Well there's not much more going on here, besides the everyday finding and teaching! I love being here. The people are great, the weather is pretty great, and the food is really good. I love green chili now. Probably won't have any more once I leave here! But I hope all is well with everyone. Keep up the good work with whatever you are doing, and enjoy life! Every day we have is a blessing, I've realized that too. It's one more day to try and make the world a better place, and ourselves as well. That's a personal goal for me. I love you all!
Elder Tyson Gibbons