Elder Tyson Gibbons with his MTC buddies, some new friends,
and President (left of Tyson) and Sister Avila at the Mendoza airport
We are happy to inform you that your Missionary has arrived here in Mendoza alive and well!!!J
Following a short orientation and a dinner with President and Sister Avila, the new missionaries were then brought to the mission home to process several arrival documents, receive a few instructions and rest and recuperate from the flight here.
Today they will meet their trainers, receive more instructions from the assistants to the president, and have their first individual interview (in Spanish!) with President Avila. After this they will be off to their first assignment area.
May the Lord continue to bless you and your family for all that you do in order to send you missionary here to serve the Lord in the Mission Mendoza Argentina. Sincerely, Elders Howard and Bennett Secretaries to President Sergio E. Avila
So these past few days have definitely been interesting! I haven't been unfocused since I got the news about my visa, I've kind of tried to forget it honestly! I am sad to go. But it keeps coming up with EVERYONE we visit so I take it as the Lord saying "you're going where you're supposed to be. You learned plenty here and now it's time for you to go and teach" So I got rid of that sad attitude pretty quickly. haha Yes I have received multiple packages and letters from home, well from you mom, since last Thursday. SO thank you! I had my bigger SD card in time to go to the Crest with Richard and his family on Saturday! So I'll be sending pictures of that home don't worry. It was a really good experience. We read some articles from Richard's Ensigns on his ipad on the drive up there and we had a good time eating and hiking and taking pictures. About that though, they had an awesome gift shop and I bought some stuff to send home to Kate and Nathan, and I had no idea my debit card account was that low. I haven't used it hardly at all! Although yes, we went to this House of Soccer store last week and I bought a Barcelona Black and Green jersey. But it was only 30 bucks because it's not an authentic one. But I'm glad I decided against the authentic Argentina jersey, I wouldn't have had enough! But I should still have 60 or so but I bought Elder Calles a Portugal Ronaldo jersey (it was 40) that he's paying me back for so that's probably where a lot of it went. So I tried to pay the $20.10 fee at the gift shop and it didn't work so I used the other card because I didn't have the cash on me. So I'm sorry! That's why there is 20.10 less in that account. Spent on things not quite as important as a Swatch or Bike or anything like Jalen has bought. (He's already spent 300 euros?? That's crazy hahaha) But anyway, that's the situation with that. I really don't spend my own money that often, and I have plenty on the funds that we get, so don't worry about that. I'm still eating and sleeping and living comfortably. For now haha.
But this past week has been very good. We've had really good visits with members and taught more of the Family Mission plan, which in our area is our biggest finding effort since tracting doesn't provide much fruit at the moment. People who have life good just don't think they need anything else! But it's okay, I love the people anyway. But it really has been a good week. And Saturday was awesome! I got a lot of good pictures and Richard took some videos on his ipad and I am going to give him my email and your email since I can't really hear any videos since we don't have headphones. Besides, I was there, so it's better for you all to see it anyway! Plus you can see him and his family, it's more personal. So to answer Dad's question, both of his kids that are old enough to be baptized are excited about baptism! Yazmin is very open about it and Jacob is more reserved but he did give that answer where he said he wants to be married in the San Diego temple! So that's not a bad answer again haha, but that's how his family is doing. Jean really opened up on Saturday too, maybe just because she's stuck with us in a car and on the top of a mountain for hours, but she really was open and talked to us about things she had concerns about. It was really good. We're excited and see some good things happening in the near future. Also we went to a neighborhood bbq in Richard's neighborhood and got to meet a LOT of new people! It was so funny to see people's first reaction when we showed up at this big gathering, no one smiled or talked to us and kinda gave us wary glances. Then we went back to Richard's house with Jacob and brought back chairs, so they realized we were with Richard, but people were still hesitant. Then we decided to go play basketball against some of the younger kids who were actually way better than me, and they realized that we weren't robots and did normal human stuff like eat and talk about non-church things (at first anyway ;]) and played sports. So people actually started coming up to us and talking. It's amazing how defensive people get without even talking to people. But that was a really good experience, and even if we didn't get into major religious discussions, people will be more open because they realize we are actually human. So that went really well. But then we passed out when we got home after being 10,078 feet high for hours and breathing the thin air. It was exhausting. I got pretty red too, my neck and arms still hurt. But hey maybe I'll be that much more tan when I get there and people won't think I'm American! Haha, yeah right. I'll never be mistaken for a native. Darn. I don't tan like Kelly and Chris do after a summer at the pool. I just burn! Curse that Norweigian ancestry :) oh well. So that was a good experience.
No we didn't get to watch any birthday broadcast for Pres. Monson??? I haven't even heard about it until now. What the heck?? That would've been perfect. We haven't got in with Tom to talk or sing or anything for a week and a half now, so we're really not sure about continuing visits as frequently. I hate saying that! But if people aren't progressing we have plenty of other people to find and teach. It's one of the hardest parts about missionary work, that's for sure. I hope we've made a good impression on him at least for future visits. Other than that we're working with mostly the same people, Shelley in trying to get her actually ready for her baptismal date in September, and we just started meeting with a former investigator who hasn't had lessons for over a year, but she's going through a rough time. Have I mentioned Chryssandra before? Maybe I have, but we had a good visit with her and we're seeing her tomorrow too so we hope to see lots of good things happen for her and her family. The gospel can help out so many different people in so many ways, and ultimately in the same ways too!! That's why I'm out here talking to people that I've never met or who may not be very nice in return. But that's the fun part, getting cussed out and realizing "well, someday maybe you'll be nicer! Let's just keep going, because the Mission President told us that for every 40 doors you knock, there's probably one person who's nice enough to talk to you" so you just keep going and forget about it and keep that smile on your face. It's funny how quickly things melt away when you're not worrying about yourself and only focusing on serving others. I love it! People don't know what they're missing out on when they could be out here serving :) I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I'm excited for you mom to start being the pianist in the choir! You'll do great. Everyone always knew who you were anyway in the choir, so now you'll just be even better known! And I guess I could probably send a short email to Jalen haha I never even thought of it really. I just figured I'd wait until you forward his month-worth of emails to me. Don't know what I was thinking haha So I'll have to do that. Pretty soon we'll be on even ground, in a foreign country not knowing what people are saying, eating weird food, and enjoying life for sure! But everyone I keep talking to who has served in Argentina tells me that it's the BEST food they've had in their life, even back here. So needless to say, I'm way excited! We talked to Erica Garcia, who served in Buenos Aires a few years ago and is married now to Oscar from Mexico I believe, and they raise their kids bilingual! It's crazy. But she told me all about the people and the food and the culture, and what I'm going to do during siesta probably. So I'm way excited. She said she has never eaten as well as she did down there. So that just boosted my confidence in Argentine cuisine. Then she gave me some Mate Cocido, apparently it's the social drink down there which I won't be able to drink when I get there, it's just some herbal tea but apparently it tastes really good? So I'm going to try it before I get down there, before I'm not allowed to haha because the people sit there for hours (kinda like Germans and beer) and pass around one cup and share with everyone and everything. So that's interesting. I'll have to learn to understand the people when they offer us Mate and learn how to refuse haha. Oh I'm way excited to start speaking Spanish again. I did it last night with Oscar and Erica, I gave a message in Spanish, and it was ROUGH. Not speaking contstantly for 6 weeks has really been hard. But it's okay, I have like 19 hours with the other three elders who fly with me and I'm going to have them only speak to me in Spanish. Things will be okay. It's going to be rough. But it will be okay. And rough. I'm ready for the culture shock though! I'm going to feel like I'm in Ecuador and Spain all over again! Except more like Ecuador obviously. Monday is going to be a long day that's for sure.
So one thing I'm really going to miss here is the Green Chili. It's SOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOD. Anywhere else the green chili isn't real, I've had it at Cafe Rio before and places like that, but it's not the same. We bought $20 worth last week, I got to see them roast it in the giant furnace things and then we spent a couple hours peeling it, and it smelled SOOOO good. But of course Elder Calles tricked me into trying the Triple XXX chili at the stand we bought them from, and I took the smallest bite, like there was nothing to chew, and my mouth was on fire for three hours. It was the worst. I loved it, but it hurt haha but I can say I've tried the hottest chili in that place at least! I feel fulfilled now. I can go to Argentina and enjoy the delicious meat and potatoes and pasta. :) whoo hoo!
Nathan and Kate, good luck with sports! Just remember they're only sports and not everything, just have fun and enjoy it, even though yes I know you get really frustrated sometimes. Ask me about it haha, but not until after my mission. I don't want those feelings to interfere with the Spirit!!! But don't just take it lighty either, you're on a team for the school and you need to work hard still, just don't let it interfere with schooling or church things that are so important. But just have fun! You'll both do really good! Just enjoy it as much as you can.
Well I've been taking quite a few pictures, although there's not much new to take pictures of after a week of the same stuff. But it's okay. There's some good ones. Have I mentioned how awesome the sky looks all the time? I have some pcitures of just the sky. So enjoy those haha. Don't worry, there are people in others too. But I'll try and send some home soon, not sure how it's going to work out, but yeah. So I'm going to be sending home a package of things I can't take with me, like this sweet iHome some elder gave to me that lights up different colors and stuff, and then other things I don't have room for. So that will be showing up eventually! I'm just now starting to pack so I don't know when I'll get it sent off. But it will happen before I leave that's for sure. So be looking for that!
Anyway, we have some good things planned for my last p-day here so I better go. But just know that the work is moving along whether slowly or quickly, it will go on! I love you all and hope you all are doing great and are enjoying life, because when you think about the large picture, life really is short! But I know some days can be long too. So enjoy both of those :) Good luck with school, work, college, sports, or whatever else any of you may be doing!
Elder Tyson Gibbons
P.S. We started listening to the Heber J. Grant audio talks by Truman G. Madsen, and we love them! It's a really good thing to turn on in the morning when things are getting off to a slow start. It helps us laugh and feel the Spirit at the same time, which is awesome. It's a good reminder that life doesn't have to be so serious all the time. It can be full of laughter and humor and love and fun all in moderation of course, but if it's about wholesome things then it's all a part of life. So enjoy the good moments, don't forget to laugh or smile, and remember that this life is a gift and something to enjoy every minute, so make the best of it!
So I know it's Wednesday and I'm not supposed to be emailing, but well it's kind of important. So I got a call from President Miller this morning, and I thought I was in trouble or something. But..... MY VISA WENT THROUGH! :) So yeah, I'm headed to Argentina with Elder Braithwaite, Elder Chipman and Elder Egbert on August 27th. President Miller gave me some info for the flights and things.
So Monday August 27th: American Airlines (dang, no special treatment from Delta! :P ) flight (don't know the flight #) leaves from Albuquerque to Dallas at 2:20 pm, we land in Dallas at 5:05 pm, then have a layover until 7:15 when we head to Buenos Aires! That flight will be 10 1/2 hours long, and with the time change it will be 7:35 am on Tuesday August 28 when we land in Buenos Aires. We don't know how we're getting to Mendoza from there, probably a long bus ride, but we'll figure it out when we get there I guess! :) I'm way excited. I'm shaking just writing to you about it. So let everyone know!!! I'm gonna miss it here, I really am. I'm actually kinda sad that I'm leaving already, just been here 5 weeks almost and have met so many awesome people, and I 've actually been telling them I probably will be here till october, so 2 transfers. But now I guess I'm a liar haha so I'm sad to leave! But way excited too. I hope my Spanish comes back quickly. I have definitely gotten rusty not speaking it ever here. But I know I can trust in the Lord, because the Spirit speaks perfect Spanish! I'll do everything I can to speak it and learn it.
Anyway, President Miller told me I better let you all know immediately haha of course :) So if you are sending mail or something, please send it to the Mission Office address at: 4400 Presidential Dr NE Suite E, Albuquerque NM 87109. Because if you send it to the La mirage address it probably will get lost unless you send it this week! I don't want to lose any mail, so please know that! So don't send me anything next week unless it's monday or it's priority or something. I really don't want to lose mail!
By the way, President told me we are not allowed to call home again even though we're leaving the country :/ so I don't get to call. I'm sorry! But it's probably for the best. He says it's just any other transfer, I'm just a lucky missionary getting transfered out of the country haha. I thought that was pretty humorous of him. Anyway, sorry about that! But it will be fine. :)
Okay well that's basically all the news I have for you. Pretty small news huh? I was fully expecting a couple transfers. Man, the Church defintiely has its ways. I'm sad to be leaving Elder Calles so soon but it'll work out. Now I just have to go picture crazy these next two weeks because I have hardly any pictures of Albuquerque!!! It's pathetic. So expect some of those eventually. I haven't been able to get the trip to the Sandias with Richard and his family yet-hopefully we can go before I leave, but if not, it's okay because he's made a big impact on me for the time I've been here. Along with plenty of other people that I'm going to miss. But I'm so excited, don't get me wrong! I want to get to ARGENTINA!
Okay that's about it. You can tell I'm excited, probably. Just let everyone know so they don't lose any mail! I love you all and just want you to know that I'll go where the Lord wants me to go, even if I don't want to leave yet, because there's obviously a reason I'm supposed to be down there asap. I'm excited to learn what that is! Oh and by the way, if anyone wants to send some cool new ties that would be cool :) cough Janet cough :D or anyone else too! I could use some more variety! But it will have to be soon, or later once I get my address for America del Sur! Hopefully I get some more information that I can send Monday-my last P-day here.
Well this week has gone by fast. Has it for anyone else?? Haha I guess the time here on a mission just flies by. But it's okay because we are still plenty busy, that's for sure. So this week we had some really good experiences. And it goes along with some of your questions mom so that's perfect!
So Richard and his kids were home on Tuesday and we stopped by, and we started teaching the new member lessons, but about 5 minutes in we both felt that wasn't important, and we started talking about baptism to Richard, and we just straight up asked Richard what do we need to do to get your wife and kids on board with this decision to be baptized? And he gave us some answers and then his kids were sitting there and Elder Calles said to them, What is the point of baptism? Why would you want to be baptized? And he just gave a really good lesson and asked them to pray about baptism and we know they felt the Spirit. They opened up like they never have before, and really talked to us instead of letting their dad dictate the conversation like normal. So we feel that was a breakthrough with them. Beacuse if the kids are on board, then his wife is going to have to try and find out if this is true or not. And well that can lead to a couple options, but most of them are good! We were really excited about that. And I should probably give the credit to Elder Calles because when I say 'we' in this story I mean 'he'. I was a little distracted entertaining their youngest daughter Alex who has a bottomopless pit of energy and likes to go through my backpack and break my pens and write on everything, so he really did it all. But I had a chance to talk with Richard the next time and we had a really good talk, and Elder Calles took charge of the entertainment. So we're definitely putting out some team effort haha :) That's what companionships are for eh? So we are really hoping to get them a baptismal date soon. We just have to be careful not to go against the wife's acknowledgement, you know? But we are confident.
Also we met with Tom again, and we got him to look up some hymns on LDS.org and we sang and actually recorded them, and I think it was a really good experience. Since he loves music, we just got him to sing the hymns, and we hope he felt something while singing them. It was a little werid to be singing into microphones and recording our singing, but I still felt the spirit so that's all that's important! I just HATE listening to my voice recorded--I sound so... wrong. haha Anyway we're really trying to get him on board to come to Sacrament Meeting because we told him there are usually musical numbers, and he loves music! We're just not to the point where he wants to go to church though. We'll keep working, but he might be one of the people we stop by less and less if he doesn't progress. I hate that feeling of knowing we might have to drop him, and it just makes me want to work harder! But sometimes people aren't ready yet. So I'm glad I'm getting all these different ranges of experiences already.
Anyway one last experience was awesome. We met with this Iranian family who moved from Utah and we were contaceted by their friends in Utah who said that they are so close to joining because they've been so well fellowshipped. So we went and visitied them and we got along so good! Shayan loves soccer and I tried my best to convince him to try out for the soccer team, and Shaya likes basketball and soccer, and we told them we'd try to set something up to play with them. Hopefully it works out! They need friends here because they don't know anyone, but they are so ready for the Gospel, it's like a slap in the face, but we'll do our best to be cordial about it and get them on board before we expect them to do anything. But they were a really great family, Their mom was so nice, and their dad seemed so cool, even though I didn't really get to know him. He came home from work about 5 minutes before we left. But he looks like Mr. Bean, it's awesome! Sorry I had to add that. :) But their family was great! So we have new potentials now, and we're really excited about that.
Wow it's so weird to be hearing about school starting up. Yes it's weird knowing I don't have to worry about that for two years! I feel like I should be in the dorms getting ready for another year at college. It's really weird, but it's also nice to not have to worry about anything like that. Two years to just learn the gospel and teach and bring people happiness. I can't ask for much more than that! :) Although the chance to speak Spanish more often would be nice for sure! I haven't had any more chances to speak since that one meeting when I taught the grandmother who only speaks spanish. But we're trying really hard to get more. I don't want to lose the language! But I do study in Spanish so that helps. I spent a long time two nights ago just reading out loud and working on my pronunciation. I can almost roll my r's! But only when I don't focus on doing it hahahah it's annoying. But it will come. I just have to put my trust in the Lord and try my best, that's really all he asks of us in this life. With our best efforts and his help we can do anything we need to! Like not watching Olympics. It's TORTURE for Elder Calles, he can't stand missing them, he loves the Olympics so much. But the members give us updates every time we go over, which is torture but I did hear the women's soccer team won gold! That's awesome. I'm glad I'm not missing the world cup when I get back :) Anyway that's basically all that's happened this last week besides the normal things like meetings. But I don't have much time so I'm going to have to go. I'm sorry if I didn't answer all the questions! But those experiences are what stood out to me this week, so hopefully you enjoy them too.
Also, Stephen Bush met President Miller yesterday and asked about me, so they sent me a text during church saying that the Bush family said hi!!!!! That was way cool. Apparently they are in ABQ East stake, which is right next to ours. Crazy huh? Anyway, that's all for now. We've got a packed schedule today! I love you all and hope that things are going well with you! Keep in touch, and let me know of anything life changing that happens in any of your lives :) haha because this is really changing my life, that's for sure. Buenas tardes!
Bien! Esta todo bien aqui in Albuquerque. No creo que he estado aqui por tres semanas! Es fantastico! I have not heard anything about my visa yet, but I keep getting emails from some Historiador person from Mendoza who is sending emails to all the Elders in the Mendoza mission. So I don't know if it pertains to me yet or not. Of course it's all in Spanish so I'm still not even entirely sure what the emails are for. I guess I'll forward them to you and you can let me know! Anyway, I just heard from Elder Waite that an Elder came to Morristown recently (not sure if during the time he has been there or before) but he says he is now in Mendoza! So who knows how soon or how long it's going to take before I get it? The church has its ways, that's for sure. I kinda hope that I'm here for at least 12 weeks though. 6 just isn't long enough! It's like pulling me out right when I get to know people and get comfortable and have success! :) But it's okay, I'll leave when I am supposed to.
So yesterday at church the Terrys came up and talked to me and told me they had met you. That's really cool! And just to let you know mom, she didn't give me a handshake, she gave me a one arm hug. There are so many older ladies here that just walk up and say "this is from your mom" and hug us. It's happened to Elder Calles about three times now. We always feel like we're such rule breakers! But she did give me your "gift" so thank you :)
I'm glad you finally got the Argentina flag pins! They didn't have anything like that in the MTC bookstore so I was disappointed that I hadn't gotten any for you or Papa. But I'm glad they're finally coming. And that Papa can finally wear all three! Haha that will look good I'm sure. Totally different colors for each flag. He'll get plenty of questions I'm sure! I'm still looking for souveniers from here, but honestly we haven't done much shopping for anything except for food and personal items. So that's been a bust so far. But that's okay because we're busy with the work! At least we were before the last couple days. But we're going to pick it up and make this week even better! Hopefully people keep their appointments this week.
Well right now we're not really teaching any new people, but there were potential investigators from recent companionships that we go see and we've noticed each of them have slow but sure progression. So we're really trying to work with that this week. There is this man named Tom, I'm not sure if I've mentioned him before, but he is so ready! He is a philospher though so he gets very turned off when we try to have a solid religious discussion, but we found a loophole: he loves music! And we are bringing a hymn book to sing with him this week because we've told him that people do musical numbers in church all the time. I'm not too excited to sing, I don't have a good voice anymore, but if it's what it takes to get him to come to church, then I'll do it for sure! He says things that just make me and Elder Calles look at each other and think Wow, he's so ready. If only he would listen! He says he wants to be accepted into a Christian group, but he hasn't been because he thinks everyone looks at him like he's different, even though he basically grew up in America, and he says he wants to sing at a church and sing hymns and things like that, so we had two obvious slap in the face moments from the Spirit saying "well, he just gave you two clear chances, take advantage!" So we try. Haha it's hard to bring the discussion to a religious topic though because he starts getting into his philosophies. But we're working with him! He's one of our main focuses. Also this man named Mark, who has been part of the church for almost two years, except he's not a member. He comes every week, has read the Book of Mormon countless times, knows all the stories and principles, but he's waiting for a huge spiritual revelation saying he needs to get baptized. So we're trying to get him to realize that, just as it says in Alma 32 I believe, if you will exercise just a particle or faith, God will bless you even more and prepare you for the spiritual blessings that will come after the act of faith. Just like Ether 12:6 too. So we're trying to get him a baptism date. That's our other main focus.
So we had a meeting as a zone last friday and we set goals to get 18 baptisms in the zone for this month of August. And just in the last three days there have been CRAZY success stories. Areas that are "dead" have set 4 or 5 baptism dates, and we already have about 8 or 9 baptisms set. Of course things don't always work out perfectly but it's amazing to see how much the Lord helps if we just forget our will and decide to do his. One of the two sisters in our zone suggested that we pray and ask right then and there if our goals we had just set were good, and it was a really good experience. And now we're all pumped up and ready to meet and surpass those goals even. Of course I won't be here for the rest of the year probably, but I'm going to help out in any way I can before I'm gone! I want to have success like that so I'm working harder than I was the last three weeks even to make it happen. So that was a miracle story for this last week. Three days after our goal setting, success has sky rocketed. It's amazing.
It sounds like the family reunion was a blast! I'm sorry I missed it, but it sounds like you had enough fun without me and Jalen anyway :) Just kidding. But I'm glad it was such a success! It's always nice to get the family together, that's for sure. Hopefully you had good food and fun service times and play times, and I'm glad Dad and Jackson weren't hurt with the four wheeler rolling over! That's really good to know. I was scared of that last time when I would ride, that's for sure!
Wow it sounds like a lot of changes were made in 4th ward this last week! That's crazy. I wish all of them the best of luck with their new callings! They'll all do really well, I didn't have any doubts in my mind when I read their new callings. Hopefully they feel the same way obviously! But I will say that their calling isn't as cool as full-time missionary :) Just kidding, well kinda. All callings are important, I'm just glad I have this one right now. And I'm going to enjoy it while I can! Anyway, I'm sorry to anyone who I haven't written back yet. Most of the P-day we are out and about doing things out of the house so I really don't have much time to write. But I'll try to get those sent off tomorrow after I write them tonight! Because I gotta put some effort in if I expect to get letters :)
Whoa, Chris is going tomorrow? That's crazy. He seemed like he had such a long time left in there when i left! But I guess it's been three weeks... wow that's crazy. He'll enjoy it. I'm sure the weather is just perfect and hot :) It's hot here but it gets cloudy because of monsoon season, so I think it's alright :)
Well other than all that, I don't have much more to say! We've got the same people we're working on, hopefully finding more this week, and then I'll have more stories and miracles to tell about next week and the weeks after! But we are still plenty busy with everything. Three wards is tough! But like you said Dad i'm enjoying the challenge. I've definitely learned some things about work that I wish I had before my mission! And even before college haha, like how to study... anyone still in school, learn that now! There's my advive for the day :) But don't forget to study the really important things too, like the scriptures ;) Well I love you all! And miss you all! Enjoy the last week(s) of summer and enjoy school even more! I miss it, that's for sure. But I love being here and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Keep looking for missionary opportunities!