Monday, October 29, 2012

Hola! :)

Buenos días todo, ¿cómo andan?
I´ll start off first saying that I was hoping to get pictures on this email, but as of right now, the program isn´t working so... Sorry if it doesn´t work out by the time I´m done for this week! Hopefully it will. It's just hard when this camara has to install its own little program to do anything at all. Oh well! Guess we´ll see eh?
So, this week was a lot better than the previous! We got a lot of work done! Of course there´s still a ton we can improve on, I don´t think I´ll ever have a week where that's not true, but it was a very good week nonetheless. We found yet more people we want to teach and have set return appointments, but every time we went back they were doing something else. People here just don´t have a set schedule so it's usually by luck if you find them and can get in and teach. Oh well. That's just one of the special things about this area. We had a really good week and got a bunch of less active families to commit to coming to church! And then... none of them came, even when we walked 30 minutes before church to knock on their door and walk with them. That was the only annoying thing really. We left at 8 and got there at 8:30-ish and knocked on their door for 20 minutes. At B___'s house, we had committed her, her sobrina and another friend to all come and we were all going together, then B___ didn´t answer her door after we knocked for 20 minutes straight. It was pretty frustrating. And we got in with the F___ family for the first time these two transfers, and we felt really solid about them. They wanted to return and get their kids baptized and everything. They´re a very family oriented family, if that makes sense. We got in there and asked them what we could do to help them, and all they said was "help reactivate us," so... yeah we were pretty excited. Haha no one does that! So we gave them all the folletos and a Book of Mormon and were expecting them yesterday. But even they didn´t come. We were pretty disappointed, to say the least. It´s only because people have to walk so far, that's why people who came before don´t come anymore. I dunno what we can really do to help with that, any suggestions?
Anyway, we still had a lot of good lessons with a lot of less actives and some new people as well, so it worked out very well. It shows how much planning helps!! This last week was the first time we were able to have a good weekly planning session due to the Mendoza and San Luis trips and the guys being there for a week fixing things. So now that we recognize how it helps, it's going to happen in the future no matter what. Planning makes things go smoother! Not just on the mission either, that's for sure.
Anyway, Saturday we went and helped the Alaniz family with their garden. Since grass doesn´t really exist down here, they dug up a big square of the dirt and we basically sifted it through and took out all the weeds and then sifted it again as we filled in the square. It was really repetitious work, but it was fun! Mom, I´m sorry I didn´t help with pulling weeds or anything a lot before now. I´ll help when I get back! Anyway, we were there all morning and then they fed us, so we ate with their whole family including their daughter who is at college in San Luis. It's nice to have a family that actually likes us missionaries and always lets us in of course. With door after door not opening usually or getting shut in our faces, it's a huge relief. And what's more, they were really grateful that we actually knew what we were doing haha. It took us a few hours to do it right, so they said they´ll always remember us, Elder Day and Elder Gibbons. Except they can never remember my name, it's too difficult haha. Then President asked us if we wanted a ride back to the church, and we told him that we were just going to go out and work now, and he and his wife were awestruck, so that made us feel good too :)
Anyway, other than all that, we had some good experiences this week. For me, I had my first chance to speak in church since Mother´s Day almost 6 months ago (holy cow, how has it been 6 months???) and I hope it went well. I definitely had some divine help, because I spoke a LOT better than I normally do, when I do talk. And all the men told me I did really good, and Julián told me that if I make all my talks or lessons like that or better my whole mission, I´d go home satisfied. So that was very encouraging! Hopefully I can make it better, because I didn´t feel like it was all that great.
I sent my letters last Monday, so hopefully they get there this week, fast just like last time! Sorry it takes me forever to write back. I apologize! And I thank you for any letters I do get. I haven´t received the packages yet, but we´re having zone conference this Thursday, so hopefully I get the one at least! That would be awesome. :) There´s nothing like mail to keep a missionary working hard. And we have a mission-wide Christmas party in November, so don´t worry Mom, I think it will all work out no matter what. :) Hmmm Kenzie got me something already?? Wow she´s on the ball! And I found a couple things for Harrison. I bought them from a Hermana Z___, she makes them and sells them. So I bought him something. But you should get him something as well. There´s really not anything here sadly :/ I´m excited for the Christmas party though, and that transfer, although I´ll probably still be here in Justo Daract, so I´m going to have to find somehwere to go to be able to Skype. We´ll figure it out. Anyway, I´ll have to make my Skype account for the mission this next month and let you know so you can add it. Are you just going to use mine on my computer for you guys and I´ll just make another one? That should work. I´ll let you know about that.
Alright, well the picture thing isn´t working, it's being dumb. So I guess when I send a package home probably this next month I´ll include this SD card! It makes it pretty hard, but hey, at least you get to see some of my life down here for the last 2 months! Or I guess 3, since by the time you get it it will have been that long haha.
Well the summer ya viene, I´m not super excited! I hate being sweaty and gross, but that's just the life here. It's going to be weird being in summer right now, but oh well, it will be normal after a couple months.
This is unusual, but I don´t really have anything else to mention. Just three more weeks in this transfer, it's so crazy. We hope to make it a great three weeks, like this last week we had. I can´t believe it's been 6 months almost. Only a little less than 3 weeks. And Halloween is Wednesday!! Whoo hoo!!! They don´t celebrate it down here really, but I guess the little kids dress up and go to all the kiosco´s who give out little candies or something like that. But I guess they go to the panedería and they get like facturas and everything!! That's so much better than a bunch of candy!! Haha me and Elder Day are going to dress up and go around too ;) just kidding. But we told the Z___ family that when we go home we´re going to dress up as missionaries and go around asking for candy. And they just laughed and said something very true, that no one would give us anything and send us away because they aren´t interested. So we might have to rethink that plan... oh well. :) Happy Halloween all of you! Enjoy it, eat lots of American candy, and think of me while you´re doing it, down here surviving on the bare minimum and no American candy. :D But it's true, their candy just isn´t the same down here. It's all flavored like cough drops, because cough drops are basically the most popular "candy" down here. It's kinda weird... oh well. I´ll get used to menthol flavored tootsie rolls and starbursts eventually!
Also before I end, congratulations to Kate for making it in the musical play thing! That's awesome, you´ll do great. And Nathan, that's still awesome that you´ll have Chris as your coach if you make it. And to be honest, I don´t know why you wouldn´t, you´re taller than anyone else by far. But if you don´t, then you can hopefully be in the play too! Or both even, just make the best of whatever happens! And Mom and Dad, enjoy the temple tour! I bet it's pretty intimidating having to represent the church so perfectly yet with limited information, but just tell it how you know it is, and testimony is always the easiest thing to say! :) Trust me, I think I can relate to you in that aspect at the moment. That will be a great experience. And Dad hopefully you get to be more than an usher haha.
Well, now I do have one thing interesting to say. I was about to finish this email when the power went out and we got hit with a huge rain/wind storm. So we sat in the cyber for 30 minutes waiting and the power didn´t come back, so we went home after buying some vegetables for lunch--haha Mom I hope you´re proud of me. I´ve probably eaten more vegetables while I´ve been here than I ever ate for the last 4 years.  But I still won´t complain! At least I´m not starving since we can´t buy good tortillas or cheese very often, so there goes my idea of making quesadillas a lot like we did in college :/ Makes it rough for sure.
Anyway, it's still really windy but the skies are clear and blue without a cloud in sight. So I´m finally sending this email 4 hours later! Sorry if it freaked anyone out. I was worried I´d have to do it tomorrow, or in worst case scenario, next week. Thankfully not! Anyway, the rest of this p-day will just be the normal stuff. Except I´ll only be able to wash enough clothes for the next 5 or 6 days. It takes a long time to do more, and with two of us, it would take all p-day basically. So oh well. The disasters of having only a moshy-washy. Hahaha I´ll just have a great love for machines when I get back!
Well now I can officially end this email, since the screen is flickering on and off and shutting down. :) So again, I hope all continues to go well or even better for everyone! If it's not, figure out why and fix it :D A lot of the time we have some decent control over it, if we´re down or having a hard time, we just have to figure out how to change our perspective. I have done A LOT of that the last few weeks, if my emails haven´t made that clear haha. So I know it's possible! I´m not just preaching my own doctrine.
Again, Happy Halloween on Wednesday! I´ll be thinking of all of you as I see the little kids all walking around as zombies or dead people, since that's the cheapest and easiest thing to do down here. Flour and black paint hahaha so yeah, enjoy!
One last quote from Elder Oaks from the conference in April that I used in my talk, and that I remember hearing in one of the devotionals in the MTC but can´t find where I wrote it. Thank goodness for Apostles eh?? "A religion that doesn´t require the sacrifice of all things will never have the power to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation" And if I may add my own insight on that and change it just a little bit, "A life that doesn´t require the sacrifice of all things, time, money, effort, hobbies, interests, whatever it be, will never have the power to produce the faith or knowledge enough to be ready for the life to come." That's completely my own thought about it, but if there is ONE thing I´ve learned in these last 5 and a half months, it has been the necessity of sacrifice. Of lots of things. I´m here for two years sacrificing my time most of all, my time with family, with the people I love, my friends, my studying, my hobbies, basically my entire life as it was before. And I´m here living and doing what I have to do to serve the Savior and be a worthy representative of Jesus Christ in every aspect of my living, even if before there were things that weren´t bad, but weren´t representing my beliefs. It's a huge sacrifice. Yet I don´t see it that way, if I did, it would be too intimidating and I wouldn´t be here still. I understand the importance of sacrifice, and more important, the blessings that come when we sacrifice something that isn´t necessary in our lives, even if it's something we enjoy, to more closely follow the teachings and principles of the Gospel. So what I say is, bring on the sacrifice! Because whatever it may be, whatever challenges it may include, I know that I´ll come out in the end better if I do everything I know is right and trust in the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, and don´t succumb to the small yet insignificant struggles that may be included. Whenever we compare the sacrifices we make to the blessings we receive when we overcome them, not even just the joy we feel when they are over, we notice that the sacrifice was absolutely nothing compared to the joy and happiness that we feel now that it's done, and that we´ve learned so many new things that will help shape our lives for the rest of our time here. I know that's true. Not just for me either, for any of you reading this as well. Sometimes we get focused on other things that may not be as important as what we should be doing. I had plenty of those before my mission, and still have some while out here, it's a constant struggle! But if you will try as hard as you can to point yourself in the right direction, using whatever may be necessary as help, you can do it. That's why we are constantly told to pray. To read the scriptures. To study and ponder the word of God. To follow the commandments and laws of the gospel. All these "sacrifices" turn out in the end to be just the catalyst for the never-ending improvement that comes after we have learned what we needed to and done what was needed to be done. Don´t delay any change if that is something that you may be struggling with! It's so much better to change as soon as possible, and you will be all the happier for doing it! I´ve seen it change people´s lives while serving, and I´ve also seen the opposite when they don´t. Please, take the better option!!! It's just better. I don´t know how else to put it.
Keep on smiling, and doing everything you can to always be the best YOU there is. It's a daily goal that turns into a lifetime of improvement and change, but think of how great we can be after a lifetime of days of improvement! Sounds great doesn´t it? :) Makes me wish that my mission was longer than two short years. I feel like I could ipmrove myself a LOT. I still have time, we´ll see how well I take advantage of it.
I love you all and hope this week is the best week you´ve had for a while! It will be if you make it. Another quote from the movie "Invictus," I don´t remember it all, but I remember these two lines: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

Your humble hijo, amigo, y siervo,

Elder Tyson David Gibbons

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