At the mission border--after a LONG hike
Elder Rogers with the Thanksgiving feast: empanadas...
Disculpen! Un día tarde, pero todovia estoy viviendo :)
Como andan todos? Ojalá que todo haya sido buenísimo esta semana pasada.
So, para empezar... I´ll stop talking in Castellano. Sorry, I´ve just been talking so much in Castellano this last week that I´ve truly hit the point where half the words I can´t think of in English so I say them in Castellano. Plus, with Elder Rogers, we have a goal this tranfer to only speak Castellano en las calles, pero he visto (yikes.. sorry this is hard) I have noticed that I say things weird now, but I´ve noticed that we still come into the chapel and speak Spanish most of the night as well. But hey that's definitely not a bad thing! I´ve talked so much because, well, Elder Rogers isn´t a talker really. He´s great, don´t get the wrong impression, he just tells everone he doesn´t talk much. So, I do about 10 times more talking than I did with Elder Day, and I feel very independent. I LOVE IT. :)
Alright, I have another list of things to mention of course, or else it would all forget itself... that doesn´t sound right. Sorry I´m just typing fast because we have appointments that we really want to get to tonight so I´m going quick. First off, Thanksgiving!! Yes mom, you were right, it was just any other day. We actually forgot it was Thanksgiving until about halfway through the day. So, for lunch we attempted to make philly cheesesteak empanadas again, but the carnicería was closed so we got frozen hamburger patties and used them so.. it didn´t come out fantastically. I think I got that word from Jalen, so blame him if it's not right haha. And then at night we each got a 1/4 kilo of helado from Grido´s. Which will be in the pictures I´m sending today. It was pretty good. I´m just glad we got to do at least something small and special like you recommended us, dad. Ice cream and empanadas. Plus it was our first day together as a companionship, and things went really well. We had a huge weekly planning session because I filled him in on all the people we have, but it was necessary to get caught up. So we went out and worked for a couple hours, and it was hard to find anyone. But, we talk to a lot more people so in the future I see some good things coming!
Alright, the next big tema. Stake Conference! We had that this last Sunday, and it was AWESOME. We all made it to San Luis just in time, even though things kept popping up, and the two sessions we went to were really good. Elder Guerra from the Seventy was there speaking to the adults the first session, and then Presidente Ávila and Hermana Ávila were present of course. So during the general session we heard from the Stake President, President and Hermana Ávila, and Elder Guerra. It was a really good meeting. I got pages of notes... and of course I just realized I left them all at the capilla. Sorry. But, it was really good! We saw all the elders in San Luis, all the new ones and old ones I´ve already met. It was a good day. A really long day. We didn´t get home until about 7, and so we only got about an hour and a half of work done. But it was good. We got mail at conference, which I hadn´t even thought about. And guess what? I got both the other packages. (I checked my email today, and I got charged for one of them... I dunno how they determine that?? But this one was 160.44) Everyone was just awestruck, including me. Oh yeah, by the way the four Hermanas in San Luis want you to send them a a package now, since they haven´t gotten any packages for a while. I told them I would tell you. So there I told you haha :) They´re all from down here, whether Peru or Argentina, I think maybe Chile. Anyway, so we got some sandwiches from the Presidente Alaniz and we ate upstairs with Elder McBride (father (trainer) of Elder Chipman from my group) and Elder Hone. We had a good talk for about 2 hours. But one thing I really liked about conference was all the emphasis they put on families. Elder Guerra gave almost his whole talk on family. In my studies I´ve been studying about that, so I´ve been reading in Doctrine and Covenants sections 68, 83, and 93 about families and the duties of parents and children. I´ve really been studying better this past week thanks to Elder Rogers and the other elders here in our district who instituted the Villaract Desafío, which is a list of all the little important things we do everyday, and we have to checkmark each that we complete and mark each that we don´t, so whoever has the most at the end of the transfer gets a prize. It's really jumpstarted my schedule. I wasn´t disobedient before, but I´ve definitely been more focused so far, and it's really helped all the lessons we have had so far. I don´t know what it is, but all the lessons we´ve had with our investigadores have been way better, more spiritual and more than nada, we´ve taught together. I think that has a lot to do with it.
Anyway, so this last week we had great lessons with Mateo, and we set a new fecha for him and are helping him quit drinking again. Have I mentioned him recently? We finally found him again and he´s drunk a few times, but he still has all the desire to do what's right, and we taught him a really good lesson on the Spirit and its function as our constant companion, and just testified to him that we know the Spirit is one of the greatest gifts God has given to His imperfect children to help them return to Him. So this week we´re teaching him the Palabra de Sabiduría again and getting him to church!!! That's what he is missing more than anything. Anyway, we also had the best visit with the Familia Tolaba. They opened up more than they ever did when I passed by before, and we have an appointment with them tonight that we really want to make it to of course. So I just asked them last time what their thoughts were on the church, and if they had any doubts or questions. And we found out about a few doubts, and that's what we´re going to focus on. We teach people, not lessons! If those are their needs, then those are our focuses in teaching. So we really hope to see really serious progress with them soon. We just want to get to be their friends, get their trust, and keep testifying and teaching and bringing the Spirit to their lives. That's what we do, and that's why it's SOOOO important that we do everything we have to to keep that Spirit within us. It says in the Doctrine & Covenants, if you don´t have the Spirit, DON¨T TEACH. NO ENSEÑAREIS. It's that important. No matter our talents or knowledge or capability at teaching, no one will ever be converted without the Spirit. Nefi testifies of the same thing in the end of his record in 2 Nefi 33:1.
Anyway, that's been my experience this last week. I´ve really felt more comfortable with speaking, and I´ve spoken more than ever and people have noticed. Not all because of my speaking skill, mostly because I talk more since Elder Rogers doesn´t like to talk really. Haha but either way, I still know I´ve been really blessed. I still don´t know even close to everything, so I´m just going to keep speaking and keep learning.
As for the last week with a new companion, it's been fantastic! We get along really well. The only problem we have... is not with each other. It's with the fridge!!! Haha :) So yeah we stilll don´t have that fixed and the members haven´t come through in the last three weeks still with trying to help us out. So both of us tall skinny kids with huge appetites are starving basically. Haha so yeah while we´re on that topic of you feeling sorry for me... I´m really glad to read in your email that it's okay if I buy groceries on the card that amount up to the amount I´ve spent on the packages because that's what I did today. I spent 215 pesos on food for the next three weeks because the last three weeks, with Elder Day never eating anything, I´ve been hungry constantly. And I always ate enough at members' houses with Elder Day because he always refused seconds, but now we both could eat three plates but they still make the same amount of food. So we´re still adjusting... it's just really hard without a fridge! I haven´t had a cold drink in 3 weeks, including milk, and we don´t have anything that is perishable since we don´t have the thing that keeps it from perishing. So please excuse my spendings that I did without asking! But that's funny how close that adds up to how much the packages have cost. Anyway, thank you very much! Also on the topic of Christmas, I bought myself a pillow at Carrefour today too. I´ve been sleeping very poorly the last month or so, I don´t know why. But I bought a new pillow which should help, because the one I had before was just solid and uncomfortable. I´m going to bring it with me throughout the rest of my mission though, and leave the other one there, hence I spent 171 pesos on the pillow. That if anything was a waste of your money, but I promise I will pay you back sometime! Or you can count that as $40 dollars worth of that money you gave me for Christmas. Either way, I apologize and hope it wasn´t a big blow or shock. But just know I won´t be starving for the next while!! :) That's really the only reason I used my card.
Okay, moving on haha I have a little pile of Christmas goodies, including some of the food I bought today, saved in the corner of my room waiting for Christmas. I was really tempted to open one of the packages or both before Christmas because I was starving, but now I can save them. Thank goodness! We found out that the Christmas parties for the mission will be the 20 and 21 of December, so we´re really excited about that! But we still haven´t figured out the Skype thing. There´s a cyber in Villa Mercedes with a webcam, and since no one here has one we can use, we´re going to try and go there. Hopefully it works out, because I am NOT going to be super satisfecho if I just have to talk with voice and not see my family and such for the first time in 7 months! So we´ll be letting you know about that next week at the latest. I´m going to figure out with the Skype account as well, but what Jalen said in his email might be the best thing to do! So I´ll let you know next week.
Alright, enough about me! I´m glad to hear all these great things going on, and sad to hear about Great Grandma! I´m glad I got to say goodbye to her before I left. I have no doubt that she is ready to move on, but she will definitely be in my prayers. I´m glad mostly everyone got to see her before. I´m also glad that Nathan is going to show off his basketball skills today, or probably already has! And Kate, I´m proud of you for playing soccer :) Play more soccer for me since I still haven´t played much here. Just the one time!! (And mom, Elder Rogers isn´t a soccer player either... so I´m just going to be patient. As much as possible. ) Just give it all you got and don´t get discouraged. They told us in the MTC NEVER to get discouraged, but disappointment is alright as long as it's the motivation to improve. That's one thing I have to say about soccer. I let myself get discouraged a lot. Just get up, forget about it and move on whenever something happens, and just have FUN!!! I really miss just the fun and relaxing feeling I would get when I´d mess around. Just enjoy it. And don´t let Coach Ogaard get in your head too much ;P
About Elder Genem, I would tell him but he left Saturday before transfers, so I´m probably never going to see him again. I hope he realizes the blessings that would come from serving a full mission! I wish him the best.
And also about the package I got first, yes all of that stuff was in there too. I got everything. There´s just no food left besides the jar of peanut butter that I´m protecting more preciously than Gollum protected the Ring. Haha sorry random reference but, that's how much it means to me right now. The things you take for granted....
Anyway, I need to be finishing up, but I hope you all enjoy this wonderful Christmas holiday spirit of December! (Especially the cold factor...) (Christmas holiday season has officially started since Thanksgiving is over :D) Remember the reason for this season, it's not about getting, that's for sure. It's all about giving, and being more Christlike. Because that's what He did, was give ALL of Himself, to every person He met, and for the rest of the world, to people that lived before and after. Just think about that. We need to give all that we have if we want to truly be like Him. I hope to do even more of that than I have these next 5 weeks. I´m excited to get more into the work and hopefully bring some soul closer to Christ in their life! What greater joy is there than bringing a loved one to enjoy the same blessings as you for eternity? I don´t think it gets better than that. Nothing could ever compare.
I love you all! I hope that things go well with the end of the first semester of school soon and that any activities going on will go smoothly and turn out wonderful! I´m excited for all of your endeavors and hope that you always remember to include the Lord in everything, because if everything we do includes the Lord, then nothing is going to fail. Food for thought :)
Hasta la próxima vez! Con mucho amor,
Elder Tyson David Gibbons