Monday, December 31, 2012

Hola everyone!

Hola everyone!
So, I guess I will start with the big news..... transfers!!!! And yes, I finally have news, I am leaving Justo Daract! Honestly right now I don't know if I am happy, excited, sad, or what I am feeling. I think a little of all of it. I will miss it here; I'm just glad I have until Thursday to be here. (Got an email today saying the day of transfers moved from Wednesday to Thursday.) But I am going to Provincia de Mendoza! The area is called Maipu (go ahead, laugh; we all did when I first got here haha). And I will be in Rodeo de Medio, with Elder Galicia. A Latin comp!!! I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, either I speak enough Spanish for my time in the mission that I can handle a Latin comp, or I don't speak enough and I need to speak more. Not sure which it is, but I'm really excited! I think he has quite a bit of time in the mission, but obviously I'll let you know more next week. All I learned was that he is a good missionary and that our area is an hour from the rest of our district, so that doesn't change anything! Just more trips in the colectivo every week. woo hoo! But I am really excited to learn a new area and meet more people, plus Mendoza is more dry and I think the weather will be a little more like good old Mountain Home, dry and hot. So we will see!
Anyway, this last week has been crazy. The fiestas still aren't over beause there were only 6 days between Christmas and New Years today, so people have still been very... closed. We haven't been able to teach much, we were actually worried last night, looking at these last 6 weeks with little success that Justo Daract would be closed for the missionaries again. Thankfully it's not! I know Elder Rogers will keep it going, if not increase the success. He is a great Elder, I have learned a lot from him as well. Sorry I always speak generally like that, but if I expounded, you wouldn't finish reading this email for another 30-45 minutes. I'll spare you the time :) So after Skype, just that night felt a little weird, knowing it would be 5 months until the next time, but it didn't affect the work or anything, we still got out and did lots of walking and talking and a bit of teaching. I was just really glad to be able to see people again, after all these months it was a relief just to see, and then talking just made it better haha. I wouldn't doubt it's the same for all Elders.
Wow, I hope your knee doesn't cause any more problems Dad. That just sounds really painful, and I've had some pretty crazy leg injuries in the past. You'll have to start playing a bit more often to be in shape! Haha but hopefully it doesn't need surgery, that would be awful. So how come Nathan's team lost so many players??
Kate is in New Mexico??? Wow I am actually jealous. I would love to go back there. I know she isn't in the same area as I was, but still, it feels like a second home, second mission. Hopefully she enjoys the time there with her friends! It's a pretty place, although dry. But hey, so is Mountain Home right? ;) And make sure to save some alfajors for Kate! There were enough in there for all of you, but I know how tempting they are. I'm surprised Tyler didnt just grab one and run! I feel like I will be that way when I get back. Did you give Kelly the oreo and guaymallen alfajor that were in the shoes in the package? I just can't see them in that picture, just wondering!

That's an interesting coincidence, with what the Ogaards talked about this Sunday, because that's something that has been on my mind the last couple weeks, with opening the mouth and talking to random people. But I have noticed these last two days when we have really focused on that, that it's really easy if you just talk to them like you love them and like you know that their Heavenly Father loves them. We talked to a lot of people Saturday, some agnostics, some Jehovahs Witnesses, Catholics, Evangelists, and whatever else there are, but with all of them, it was easy to talk about the gospel and relate it to them. Even if some of them accepted it a little more, I noticed at the end of the day that it really is easier to do everything we are supposed to do as an act of love for them, because we know that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father love them as well. So that's a cool coincidence! Well no that's just an interesting occurence, coincidences don't really exist for me anymore haha.
Wow, can you believe it, 2012 is over. I can't believe that I haven't been in Argentina this whole year, I was at BYU a year ago. That is really hard to picture, it feels like a long time ago. Something that Hna Alaniz asked us to do at the beginning of Sunday School yesterday was think back through the year and think of the big accomplishments that have happened for us, and I had PLENTY. Because I have learned so much, grown a little, and changed so many things about me and how I work. This year truly has been one of the best years, along with one of the hardest, most challenging, but along with those, one of the most rewarding, most worthwhile. Even if we don't get to celebrate New Years as missionaries (even though it's the same thing as Christmas, everyone eats a big meal and then at midnight, fireworks and drinking and partying again. (Hope that answers your question Dad) I still have been changed by thinking about what I have done this year, or haven't done that I need to, And I am ready for the new year. 2013 has plenty in store for each of us, we just have to work our hardest to achieve it all, or take the next step in some cases. I was reading in Alma yesterday looking for something to share with some people, and I found chapter 26, where Ammon is reflecting on the things he has done in the last few years. He is talking to his brother Aaron:

11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

12 Yea, I know that I am anothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

I feel exactly like Ammon, as I have thought about this last year and everything that has happened. I especially feel as he describes in the beginning of 12 "I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak." That describes me perfectly. I feel very humbled when I think about this last year, starting with my friends at BYU in January, leading to being home for a little before leaving to the MTC in May, then to New Mexico, and now 4 months here in Justo Daract. I have really started thinking about the times I have subjected myself to the Lord's will and not my own, and I notice a difference between this year and the last 18 years of my life. I think the biggest one that stands out in submitting myself to His will would be the fact that I left everything, my family, my friends, my home, my town, my country, to be here, 1000s of miles away. and for what? To suffer because I left my family, my closest friends? No, I'm definitely not serving a mission to suffer. To repay God for all that He has given me? No, that's impossible, He will always give me more than I will EVER be able to give back to Him. To follow the routine of all 19 year olds? No, I am not doing this out of peer pressure, out of expectation, out of obligation; if I was, I wouldn't have left. Why, then, am I here? That's something I have thought about as I've thought back through this year, why would I have left 5 months into the year and leave everything I was comfortable and familiar with to do this? I can't give a simple answer. There are different levels of reasons. But for me, this past year of 2012 has been one with the hardest decisions, the biggest leaps of faith, but most importantly, the biggest steps towards my Father in Heaven. I thought I was somewhat of a man before I left, I was 19, at college, expanding my horizons for my future.... no, I was wrong. I'm still not a man, but I can say with all my heart that I have taken at least some of the major steps towards becoming a true man, a true son of our Heavenly Father, a man with a divine purpose in this life, and an eternal purpose for the life to come, a man who understands why he is here, doing these things, with an eternal perspective and an infinite potential. I had no idea what a man was before. I was still a teenager getting ahead of his actual potential in the moment. But that has changed, albeit very slightly, because I still have a long way to go. But this is just an example of what I learned this year. What about you? Really think about it, the new year is something that has happened every year of our lives, but don't just take it lightly as a common occurence. This year, I want you to actually sit down, ponder, and think about what you have done with your life this year, and what you want to improve this year that's coming. Something that I have thought about this last week is that as human beings, the only way we can change is if we recognize the faults in ourselves and have a sincere desire to improve those faults. You can't change a problem that you don't recognize, no?
The new year has always had its resolutions and things that last about the first month. But this year, think of one thing at the least that you want to start and go through with. A resolution doesn't hold any reward for us when it isn't fulfilled, Think of something and have it on your mind at all times, because only that way will we be able to persevere with the goal and not forget about it the beginning of February.
Well, I hope all of you enjoy your New Years festivities tonight! Drink some sparkling cider for me, and enjoy the end of a year that for each of us was full of miracles from our Heavenly Father. All that we are missing (ah! I caught myself, thanks Scott) is the recognition of those miracles. I hope all of you enjoy the rest of the break between school or work or whatever it may be. And don't forget to start of the new year with a goal to be a different, better person at the end, a year from today. I'll address that next year, how about that? :) I love each of you, and hope you can achieve all that you are aspiring to do with your lives, and I hope you can keep on going through whatever struggles there may be. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it, those thoughts aren't from God. He knows our potential, and He knows it is infinite, we just have to esforzarnos (okay, I seriously can't think of this word in English, please translate Dad).
Happy New Years everyone! Let's embrace 2013 with our thoughts towards a better future!

Thank you for all that you do for me, all the letters and prayers and thoughts towards me. You will never truly know how much they help me!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

P.S. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATHAN!!!!! :) No I didn't forget Enjoy your birthday!! Do something fun. I love you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Felices Fiestas y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Some photos from the mission Christmas fiesta:
With Elder Hardy
With Elder Chipman
With Elder Johnson
With Elder Day
MTC Amigos
The entertainment

Felices Fiestas y Prospero Año Nuevo!

I know, we are still faulting a little until New Years, even Christmas seeing as how yesterday was Christmas Adam (I always remembered that about Uncle Dave :D) and today is only Christmas Eve, but today is basically the Christmas day down here. Let me tell you, people are NOT more receptive during the Christmas season even, they just don't want anything to do with us because they are busy preparing for the holidays. This weekend was SO HARD. But I have survived until now, so what is there to complain about? In fact, there are things to celebrate this wonderful beautiful (and boiling hot :/ ) day, because yesterday A___ CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!! It was my FIRST person I have been able to get to church my entire time here, well my entire mission actually. I was SOOOO HAPPPPPYYY. My heart was pounding so hard during Sacrament Meeting, hoping everything would work out well. And after Sacrament Meeting, she just walked out of her way up to me, even with her injured leg, and with the biggest smile on her face she just shook my hand. Didn't say anything. Just that.... but that made the entire week worth it, let me tell you. I don't know what the future holds, espeically with possible transfers out of here (for me) being this next week, but I am going to work my hardest this week to try and get this area going, even if it's just one tiny step. The members here deserve it, and I am a necessary key to helping with the work here, so I have a big responsibility, but I say bring it on. I love this place, and I'm not saying that just because I'm caught up in the joy of Christmas and all the great things that have already happened to me (there have been a lot) I really mean it. So, that was the best part of the week yesterday. and now these next two days are going to be amazing, although right now, at 11 in the morning it's already about 37 degrees. I am DYING. Please send some of your cold down here, sharing is caring! :)
I am super excited to skype, you have no idea! Well you have a pretty good idea, it's your first time too. But it's going to be the best part of Christmas. I already know it. I'm excited to see everyone who is there at least!
Dang, my package still hasn't arrived?? Well hopefully soon... If it's after Christmas, I apologize! Wow I didn't know people were going to do that... 135 in my account?? That's like... 600 pesos!!! Wow. Thank you everyone, I will make sure to get something good!
I am so jealous you went to temple square!!!! I want to go there so bad. Oh well, future trip planned! And you had Sacrament Meeting with Elder Oaks and Elder Carlson. Aren't you just having the best time of your lives without me!! It's okay, I'm also doing the same I guess ;)
Sounds like these past weeks have been pretty exciting. Wow, Nathan just has the good teeth of the family I guess. I remember we were told 2 years, which turned into like 3 and a half. And still not as good :/ well congrats Nathan, you just keep getting more and more things to brag about to us. That's okay, I accept it though, the younger generation really is just more capable. I still am older!!! (how pathetic a claim haha)
So the branch Christmas party went really well!! None of the families that Hna Alaniz invited came :( but Hna Giordano brought her sister, so that was good enough! Julian had us watch the Bible videos that have to do with the birth of Christ, and it was a really good presentation. Then President Alaniz added some more thoughts and shared his testimony, and afterwards we went outside and there were Christmas lights and everyone enjoyed the weather and some pizzas and mini milanesas and bread and chips. I felt at home. That's the most important part. I loved it so much! Even though we were up until 12 ( we had permission, don't worry) and Elder Rogers kept trying to go to bed, I felt kinda bad because he wanted to go to bed but I wanted to enjoy the moment. I regretted staying up so late at 630 the next morning of course, but it's all worth it. It's moments like that that really make up your mission. So I wanted to enjoy it. I think he really tried to go to bed before they brought out the fruit salad because he refused to eat it since he doesn't like fruit and they talked it up like the main special event of the night. I felt bad that I stayed up and he was subjected to everyone saying how do you not want fruit salad, just eat a little, why don't you want any, are you sure? Yeah he gets that a lot, I feel really bad haha but, I thoroughly enjoyed the night!

Then we had the mission fiesta too! It was a realy long tri again, in a private colectivo (makes it sound nicer but... it's not) and we got there three hours too late, so I only played futbol twice, and each time for about 1 minute because then we got knocked out. But, I take pride in the fact that I was the only gringo playing with a bunch of Colombians, Chilenos, Paraguanos, Argentinos, Peruvians, and Mexicanos. :) I like surprising people because they didn't want gringos playing with them, all the teams were already made, but then I joined and once they realized I actually know what to do, they kept asking me to play. Sadly, I didn't play nearly as much as I would have liked! But now I can say I've played futbol down here 3 times!!! The number is increasing slowly. Anyway then I spent some time with Elder Day, mi papi, and Elder Braithwaite, Elder Hardy, Elder Johnson and Elder Chipman. I love those guys Elders. It was really good to see everyone again. Those are the photos I sent before this email. But it was fun to see Santiago too. Haha me and Elder Johnson ate with Santiago (President's 12 yr old son) and talked about his English and played ping pong and stuff. It was awesome haha and Elder Rogers and I got a receipe from their youngest daughter for bombons or something like that, and we got to see Hna and Pte Avila, so it was just a really good day! The food was really good, and after we had a meeting where we watched a slideshow of all the pictures of all the baptisms this year, sadly ours from my first transfer wasn't on it, we forgot to send it in. Whoops. But we sang Christmas hymns, as about 100-130 elders and hermanas, and president spoke to us for awhile too. We were issued the challenge to read the Book of Mormon, as a mission, as a unit of 200+ missionaries starting last Thursday and ending February 23. So only about 65 days! But it's going good so far, since we have set chapters to read every day, it makes it easier. But he challenged us to mark things that we wouldn't normally mark, so that has been the callenge. I've avoided scripture mastery scriptures we studied in seminary, and things that I always mark, and have really paid attention to the little things that I don't usually notice. It has helped alot, I have already learned a ton! That can apply to life to, if we start over with something and pay attention to the little details and not the main events we learn even more! Like this newcoming year, don't just focus on the big events like holidays and birthdays, focus on things that happen every day that are little miracles themselves. That's I guess the challenge I issue to you all as well! Try and learn something new this year that is coming, and not just focus on the main points of the year.
And after that, we got back on the bus and headed home again. It is hard being in Justo Daract, we never get all the way home, we have to stay in Villa Mercedes and it's impossible to sleep there for me, since its so... dirty. So I was pretty tired for the next couple days. But before we left Mendoza I started juggling by myself, in missonary attire, and then the elders from my zone, all the Latins, came and joined, and it was really fun, then some hermanas came too, from my zone first, then more from Mendoza, along with President's daughters (I started getting a little worried like I'd started something crazy and President was going to get mad, but thankfully that didn't happen!) , and at the end we switched to a volleyball and started hitting that around, and it was all just super fun. There were still no other gringos besides me, so I felt pretty cool again :) I did a couple dives and had some cool saves. I was just super excited to play sports again. It's been so long...
Anyway, we have lunch today with J___ and P___ and O___ (their daughter; I don't know if I have mentioned her name before) at 1 and we are going by the flia L___ (an Evangelist family, but last time we passed by we had a really spiritual visit, so I'm starting to see more potential) and then flia Alaniz for the night. I'm super excited!! It's going to be great. And today we are getting the netbook from Julian and also the webcam from President Alaniz so we can both skype since we will have the laptop and the computer in the office. So that will work out just fine! I'm so excited, I've been looking forward to this since I left honestly! :)

Thank you for the pictures, even if Dad just asked you to include them so he could have a reason to mention his IPHONE: what the heck, when did that happen?? But those are really good pictures, I love the one of the temple and the nativity. A reverent reminder of the reason for Christ, for Christmas, and the Gospel of Christ.
Well this won't be so long either since skyping will be happening tomorrow. I'm so excited!! I'll get on as soon as possible, around 4 or 5 and look for you all. I hope you enjoy your christmas eve, and tomorrow as well! I hope you enjoy the spirit that is there as well, because there is not a better feeling than being with family, giving gifts from the heart, and enjoying time together during the best time of the year. :) Thank you all for all you've given me these 19 years of my life, I could never ask for more. All that you have done makes this Christmas away from home bearable, and even enjoyable. :) Thank you. I love you, and send my best wishes for this holiday day! (I say "day" since the season has since passed, although it is good to keep it going all year )
Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, December 17, 2012

Buenos días!

Saturday night storm, 12/15/12

Buenos días!

Well I got stuck with the computer with the broken space bar again, so to start, I apologize for attempting to invent the longest words in English history :) Can youbelieve Christmas is NEXT WEEK????What happened to this year? I can´t even believe the beginning of this year I was at BYU enjoying the time with my friends and roommates. That's crazy. I feel like I´vebeen gone a long time, but at thesame time hardly at all. This week has been an eternity though so that could be why! ;) But not in a bad way. Just really hot and long.Just as Dad predicted. It was plenty hot. We helped José with his house of dirt Saturday again, and got alittle burnt. But its reallyfun, because it's something completely different. So I´ve been going through the cycle just like lasttime: burn, fever, exhaustion, cold, but thankfully the cycle is already on its last stage today. I woke up feeling dead, exhausted. But it's okay, I´m getting better. Slowly but steadily.
The conference was very good! And this Wednesaday we go to Mendoza again! I am going to see Elder Hardy, Elder Johnson and ElderChipman,along with my Argentine papi (trainer) Elder Day. So that will be superfun! And Dad, THAT is what I was trying to remember the whole trip home aftertheconference, who he reminded me of hahahahahahaha it's so true. Gru! He was very spiritual though, and I didn´tget distracted duringthe conference thankfully. And Elder Diaz De Leon is not the mini missionary I did exchanges with, he was just in Villa Mercedes myfirst two transfers here, and he was always reallyencouraging with the language.
Also this Friday we have the branch Christmas devotional. It's going to be really good! We just have to give a relato of Christ's life with Julian helping us.It's just going to be hard to get together with Julian because he is getting married finally next month, so he´s super busy right now! Plus we haveto get with him to Skype because he has the laptop we will use for Skype.Which about that, yes we are doing it in the pench, in President Alaniz´s office, and if you will be online waiting then I´ll try and coordinate accordingly. And we aren´t allowedto proselyte Christmas day, so we have all day basicallyto schedule it best if necessary. Yes I remember ourphone number... I justdon't know if I knowhow to dial it. I think you might have to call us, I really don´t know. But I´m prettysure Skype will work out justfine! We will get on around 3 or 4 I guess and we´ll seefrom there, does thatwork??who all is going to be there?? I am super excited obviously, I would be fineif that was allthe Christmas presents I got, to see everyone! Hopefully the package getsthere thisweek, and don´t open it until Christmas obviously. And sorry nothing iswrapped, for Kelly tampoco, but as long as everyone gets their gift then that's good! When are you going to get togetherwithKelly?she should be ending soon. You could send her a text orsomething and find out.But I know she´ll be home for Chirstmas day!
So Hna Alaniz asked me yesterday if we were going to coordinate Skype with Jalen too but I told her he wasdoing it Monday instead. She was disappointedhaha I don´t know why,but oh well. Maybe next year! I got an email from him saying sorry so it's okay haha.
OOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! I totally forgot! So there wasanice pleasantsurprise yesterday in church. I had to speak and teach Priesthood, but everyone was in such a good mood thateverything went really well anyway. They are going to build a chapel here in Justo Daract!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can´t even describe how happy I was and the members were to hear that. :):) I think it means moreto me than anyone, although I´m sure the members think thesame, because I´ve been here for 4 months, without a lot of progression, a little here and there, but that justconfirmed to me that sí, my work and faith and efforts along with the members' really has made a difference here, enough to build a chapel! I am reallyexcited forthe future work here. With a real chapel it should be easier to get people to come, all depending on where theybuild it. But that's the happynews of this week :) I´m so excited!!!! I´ll behome when it's dedicated but that doesn´t matter.Thework will go on, until theLord says it is finished.
I sent information about my Skype too lastweek, I created a new one. But I guess I can use the old one if I needed too.But my new one is tyson.gibbons93. I sent a friend request to my old account, butif you created a new one then I will try either one. If you are already addedto myold one then alright I can use that one! Youalready friended yourself to my old one?
Yes Mom I´m still practicing thepiano, we have a keyboard but it's better than nothing. I have been practicing Christmas hymns but also I keeptrying to remember Cristiforís dream and I've recently started listening to Paul Cardall on my ipod and figuring out by ear his Live to Love song. I´ve got the main part, now just to get it all solidified. I can't believe how much youcan do when youpractice every night. So yeah I´ll keepyou updated on that! I feel like a musical professional trying to decipher the notes by ear, like youand your roommates did with Cristiforis dream. Wish me luck! I am definitely taking it slow haha.
Theres not much to report from here this week, we´ve just had somereally good lessons, but can't count anyone as progressing because they still won't cometo church!!! GRRRRRR but it's okay,we´ll havethe activity Friday and church again Sunday,and hopefully more peoplecome, seeing as it's closer to Christmas! I hope so, I really do. We are going to watch Special Witnesses of Christ with Aida tonight, so hopefullythat goes reallywell. It will be spiritual, for sure! She´s the closest one we have to taking the next step in her life, she just always has something come up before church. Satan is either working really hard because he knows that's the last thing she needsto receive an answer, or God is testing her and so far she just hasn´t passedcompletely. Either way, I haveto have patience still too! It's hard haha she´s one of the only people that I actually started teaching. Anyway, thank you for your prayers,they really do help!
I´m super excited for thenew week, as always, and we have a bunch of Christmas activities, so how could it get better??? :) I love Christmas!!!! The spirit ofChristmas has power to change hearts, change attitudes, and change the very soul of anyone who fully accepts it in themselves. Just like in Alma 32, if there is just a tiny bit of room to plant theseed, it will grow. All it needs is just a littleroom,but from that little seedcomes the miracles that the world has seen andread in the Bible and in modern times right now. So, if you put the equation together, this christmas season withthe power of its spirit, is the season of miracles! :) Never forget the miracles that have happened in your life, and if you´ve never seen one, you aren´t looking hard enough! Miracles happen every day, it's simply a matter of looking forthe good in everything that happens. Because in the world, with it's state of being today,anything good that happens could be counted as a miracle or a tender mercy from the Lord. I always loved the commercials where someone does something nice for someone else, and one person sees it, and then that person doessomething else for another person, and itcontinues like that! That's how theworld should work.Unfortunately, not everyone is in accordance withthat. But as I taught yesterday, we as members of the Church, and I would modify that to all of us who want a better world, have the responsibility of setting thebest example. And I´ll conclude with the quote from President George Albert Smith, "Make them feel your influence." Or "haganlo sentir tu influencia." There is our duty!
I love each of you and again wish youthe best for thisholiday season! Don´tforget the reason for the season, and always remember to forget yourself and givea little more to those around you! Therein lies true joy and happiness. :)
Elder Tyson David Gibbons

p.s. Yes Mom we are getting the fridge back tomorrow.Thank goodness eh? two months plusa little without one. I don´t know how I survived. It has been hard to say the least haha but no need to worry anymore. I´ll keepstaying cool ;)
p.s.s Those pictures are from Saturday night, it wasabout 10:15, completely black outside since there was no moon or stars, but I got some pretty awesome pictures :) even with my not so awesome camera. The first is just to show you how strong the storm was. It looks bright outside, but it's really pitch black. Anyway, enjoy! And sorry I am not in that picture. Since I have control of the camera, I get to choose if I am in the picture or not :) haha sorry, I´ll try harder to convince myself. Love,

Elder Gibbons 2
(Added later) Sorry this will be short, I answered everything I think except theChristmas tradition question. Basically, every fewhouses we see a lighted star on the window and some houses have some little trees, but other than that, there really aren´t any decorations. It's depressing. Theydothe same thing here though (as in Chile, where his dad served), theycelebrate everything the 24th, at night, and then sleep a lot of the day the 25th, but after that just go to the river or the pool to swim since it's so hot. But the 25th we are allowed to be out till 11:30 and we have to go out in public in normal clothes so that will be interesting. Anyway, that's bascially their culture, pretty similar to Chile! Just makes me miss the states more than ever right now. They do shoot off fireworks too. As for the Skyping time, I´m guessing if you are all going to open presentsabout 9 or 10 as the four of you, and then with everyone at Grandma's house doing their thing, and with the four hours difference, I think it would work best if I get on about 4 or 5? So it would be 12 or 1 for you. Does that work? If not let me know nextweek, but we´ll plan for that. Can´t wait! Love you,
Elder Tyson Gibbons

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hola todos!

Tyson's growing Christmas stash
Tyson with Elder and Sister Resek of the Seventy
Tyson with Elder Diaz de Leon

Hola todos! ¿Como les ha ido?

I can´t even tell how great it feels to be in a new week. Last week was rough, I won´t get into detail. Mostly lack of sleep with the Internacional Festival de Tango that started Thursday and went until last night. And also we had a Conferencia with Elder Resek del Setenta Thursday, and we had to travel 6 hours to San Rafael, and back, in one day. It was... awful. Haha the traveling I mean. The conference was amazing. I saw Elder Diaz de Leon again, and that was awesome! I miss that Elder. I attached a picture (sorry it looks a little weird) anyway, we just didn´t have a very productive week, with the festival and exhaustion. But it's a new week, a new day, a new time to start over and work harder!
Dad, thanks for the weather update. I really never know if I am going to wake up to a hot day or rainy day or rainy-morning/humid and hot day. It's just unpredictable! So 90's for the rest of the week? Joy... Yes, it feels wrong. It's Christmas, December, and I'm sleeping on top of my sheets and blankets, sweating all day, getting slowly more tan and sun cooked. Haha how much more backwards can you get?? I am wishing I had bought more short sleeve shirts. Oh well, no regrets! I´m glad to hear it at least snowed a little bit! Maybe the white Christmas will come after all! For you, of course.
I´m not sure why the offices didn´t notify me about Great-Grandma Gibbons' death, it could be that they changed their number and our phone doesn't have it, we have received one or two calls while we've been working from numbers without names. That could be why. But it's okay, it wasn't too big of a surprise. The funeral sounded like it went smoothly, as smooth as a funeral can go anyway. They are really hard to handle, for me anyway. But I´m really glad you sang those songs! It's amazing the simple peace that comes from children's hymns, because I believe the childrens hymns are ALWAYS sung from the heart, they´ve been there since your childhood, and so you have a childlike spirit when you sing them. Super spiritual, to say the least. And that poem just about made me cry. I´m sitting here in the cyber surrounded by a bunch of people and I have to try really hard not to! But I copied it down in my agenda. I really like that poem, thank you Janet for finding that. It has a special place in my heart already, just as Great-Grandma did. I can´t believe her sister is 100 and a couple others older! They have some really good genes in that family. That's amazing that she came.
I´m glad you had fun Christmas shopping! It's always my favorite shopping, since I don´t have to worry too much about how much I spend, because well I am spending it on others, and as I have said before, I love giving gifts!!! WHICH, by the way... reminds me. Today I sent the Christmas package! :) And he said it should arrive between 10-15 days!!! So if it got there before Christmas, that would be AWESOME!! If not, well a couple days after maybe. But Mom the post office, just like everything else here, only takes cash, so I paid in cash and I´ll just buy lunch today and some groceries for the next week or so with the card. I´m excited for you to get it! :) Sorry it's only a little something, but it's definitely a little taste of Argentina for this special Holiday! Hope you enjoy :)
And more about Christmas, we are going to do Skype on Christmas, and we´re going to do it in the pench! Since it's the church haha but yeah, that will be great! We still are figuring out the time, but what would be the best time for you guys? Since there are two p-days before, we can figure it out precisely! We are planning on having a meal with the Giordano and Alaniz family for Christmas, and we have to go out in normal clothes, so that will be interesting! I´m super excited nonetheless. How can I not be?? As I may have mentioned once, I love this season :)
Thank you for the addresses! I´m going to write them today, I want to see how they're doing!!
I had no idea about those surgeries, thank you for telling me. Of course they will be in my prayers. I hope everyting turns out for the best! Those would definitely be some hard times...I DON'T like hospitals either, can you guess why? Haha yes I will pray for them.
Wow I love those pictures!! All of them! Europe looks as beautiful as ever, even with a flooded town, and the cultural celebration looks like it was AWESOME!! I´m jealous. I like Malcolm´s shaggy hair, like father like son ;) That's so cool to see Tyler and Malcolm and Solomon and Nathan and Justin and, well, all of those people I know! Did you take those pictures? They´re really good quality and they all have someone from our ward/stake. Thats so cool, thank you!
Well, there are some cool things I would like to share before I end (go ahead, sigh. I know I talk on and on sometimes! It's interesting I promise). So we did intercambios Saturday, and I went to Villa Mercedes again with Elder Daybell. We visited a family, the Flia. Calderon, and it's an older couple. And I learned A TON!!! They were the first members in basically this side of the San Luis Province, they were found by missionaries who had been sent from the Cordoba mission (bueno, all of Argentina north was one mission back then... guess who was the president?? Elder Richard G. Scott!!!! I had NO idea) and they had to get missionaries to come from the branch in San Luis to Villa Mercedes, and they were the first members. And, they personally met Elder Scott, multiple times, he came to visit them specifically since they were basically the only members in Villa Mercedes at that time. And on top of that, they met President Kimball and President.... don´t remember which other one. They have hook ups! They had a binder with all of these old certificates and things like that, with pictures of them and Elder Scott. It's so crazy. They told us they were also the first marriage sealing ceremony done in the Buenos Aires Temple! And they served a mission there about five years ago, before it closed. The elder who baptized them, Elder Andrews I think, became a Seventy, but passed away a while ago, and they had articles by him as a Seventy, in their binder. But anyway, that's all just a bunch of cool facts. The thing that I really liked was their excerpts from a talk by Dr. Warner Von Braun (I only know him from the movie October Sky) speaking at BYU, and there was one paragraph in the Liahona from April 1968 (so old.. I don´t think you can even find that anymore) that the person quoted Dr. Von Braun talking about life after death. And of course, in his super smart words, he basically said that he is convinced there is life after death, because all of his studies have shown him and taught him that matter does not cease or get created, so as our body returns to the earth, our spirit doesn´t just disappear! It has to go somewhere right? But it does not cease to exist! I can´t explain it nearly as well as he did in his infinitely intelligent words, but that's basically what it was. It just made me realize that even the smartest people, in terms of science, can understand spiritual truths simply if they reason things out in their mind. He wasn´t a member of the Church as far as I know, but he knew one thing, that our spirit continues on after death. It is scientifically proven, and of course, it's the truth too! But that just made me think even more about how important it is for us, for me, as a missionary, to teach simply. I have talked with people that are really intelligent, and it's hard to get past their knowledge to a spiritual level, but it's also different with people who aren´t as educated, who didn´t finish school (sadly, most of Justo Daract). It's hard to achieve that level of spirituality if we cant teach simply enough. We are counseled in Preach My Gospel to teach simply and clearly, so even a child could understand completely, and there is a quote by one of the Prophets I think, that says it's a great teacher who can take the mysteries of the universe and summarize them and teach them so that a child understands completely.
Well, that just made me think about how simple the gospel really is in the first place! We start by teaching that God is our Heavenly Father, and that sets the basis of families, and then we teach that families are important to learn and grow together, and then we move on to the prophets who give us as families the things we need to do, and that leads to how prohpets were in the Bible and that leads to Joseph Smith.... it all is just connected! This book (Preach My Gospel) truly was written by prophets and apostles. And so I started wondering (I do a lot of thinking and wondering.. sorry) why some people can´t or won´t understand or accept this message when we contact them in the street or knock their door. It is exactly what they believe already, because for everyone, family means EVERYTHING. And it all revolves around the family and the teachings of Christ. It makes me sad when someone refuses to listen to us when they haven´t even heard what we have to offer. That's the importance of the door approach and following the Spirit, because we have to say what will catch their attention!! It's so important. Anyway, I feel like all of that is something that I learned more than it will help you all, but hey, at least I´m learning right? :)
Well I should get going, I have some laundry to do and I am starving, plus I want to practice my Christmas songs on the piano more! Oh yeah, Mom last night I started playing It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and I have it memorized already, I just have to put the two hands together. It's AMAZING how once you´ve learned something, it's still there, it just takes practice and patience. I started O Little Town of Bethlehem this morning, and I´ve got the right hand memorized already. It's great, I LOVE christmas songs, and it's even better when I can play them! It makes me feel at home. Playing the piano always reminds me of you of course!
Anyway, I love you all and hope you continue to be happier and happier as Christmas draws nearer and nearer! Enjoy your shopping, your time with family and friends, and get into the Christmas Spirit! It's worldwide, anyone who believes in Christ is feeling the same spirit you are. Tell me THAT isn´t a divine power! Let it reunite everyone, and help everyone to forget any troubles and focus on the rest of the people around. There´s no greater happiness than when you forget yourself! I am a personal walking testimony of that, I´ve never been truly happy like I have been these months I have been serving everyone else. (I´m not saying I haven´t been super happy or truly happy before, those were times when I still forgot about mysefl and focused on you, my family, my friends, all of you.) The Savior lives, and He is there for us, along with His Spirit, through whatever problem we have. Especially as Christmas draws near, I personally feel He is closer than ever, because wherever His Spirit is, He is there also.
Happy Holidays, to one and all! Keep smiling and working hard, just push on through, the holidays are just around the corner!

Elder Tyson David Gibbons

P.S. Dad- I got some advice for mate again, I´m not sure if I already gave you some advice. But they told me first you put some sugar, then the hierba, then more sugar, and you have to put some cold water first so the hot water doesn't burn the hierba, because then it tastes gross. and also they said you can put in some orange or lemon shavings to give it a more summery feel! Although, well, I guess you are in winter. Haha yeah keep using the hot water :D Anyway, I don´t know when your next biannual trying of mate is going to be, but there you go! Hopefully it's more enjoyable than last time. And when I get home, maybe I´ll like it too! Since I won't ever try it here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Buen dia de Justo Daract!

Buen dia de Justo Daract! ¿Que tal?
Again I apologize for last week. All is well though! Just a waste of a p-day basically. Well it's never a waste to do something different, it's just the fact that communication between Elders could be better. We will have better plans next time we go.... if we go. Haha anyway, yes things are going just fine. Great actually! Today, Justo Daract has been transformed into Oregon. It's raining so hard, harder than almost any other day I've seen since I've been here. It's crazy. but I love it. It's so much better than the heat, which is continually and daily getting more and more potente. Elder Rogers loves it anyway, because he just came from San Juan where it's super dry, and really hot, so now he's here and it's more humid, like his home in Nueva York. So he is just doing fine. I'm the one suffering haha but I can honestly say, there are not many feelings better than coming home after a long day of work, physically and spiritually, all soaked from sweat and covered in tierra, and taking off the formal clothes and relaxing in shorts and a t shirt. :) I think one of the bonuses of a mission is that I'll get home and be comfortable no matter what. Plus taking a cool shower before you go to bed just makes everything better! In memory of Thanksgiving, I'm very grateful for a working shower.
So I got a few more letters last Friday when we had ANOTHER zone capacitacion. I'm so sick of traveling at this point, because it's never somewhere new! Haha but it was a really good meeting. And I thought it was hilarious that in Chris' email, he said how on earth do I write so much. Well I can't really answer that question, besides the fact that here in Justo Daract, there isn't anything to do but come here, write Presidente, and family, and then go and do nothing in the capilla for the rest of the day until 6. Plus I've always been able to type really fast, and I have so many experiences that I want to share! Because spiritual experiences are there to share and help others learn something (not all though, there's always a few that should be kept personal. Here's another call-out for Thanksgiving: I'm so grateful for these two years that I have to bring myself closer to my Savior and have those experiences that are so personal and profound. They give you the will to carry on!) But anyway, I'm glad I can read my friends' emails too! That is something I've always wondered though, how do they write so little? It's always really good experiences, I feel like I write too much. Hahahahaha except for Ossie. Hahaha :D his emails just make me smile and laugh every time. But I'm way excited for him, and everyone else.
So to impress you mom, yes I made the empanadas myself. Kinda. We bought the tapas, se llama, the dough part, pre made, but we made the filling and we just put a spoonful into the tapa and fold it over and make it look nice. Then eat. I've learned to cook quite a few things! Brownies, chicken with vegetables, pizza which we are having today, tacos, and empanadas. Now I just fault asado. Still have only had one! I'm pretty disappointed. Every person that told me I'd be eating the best meat and a ton of it, thanks for raising my hopes! It's okay, I still eat a lot and it's always really good. Well almost. But hey, that's just life, right?

Also, news on the fridge, we are bringing that to a tecnico guy today, and it should be fixed by Thursday. That would be fantastic! Elder Rogers has been dying without a fridge. He can only drink water when it's fridge cold, not just from the tap like I've done this whole time. Haha so he asks everyone we talk to for aqua fresca. It's interesting. Also he asks to use the bathroom a lot.. I never did that with Elder Day haha, just a couple more interesting ways to get into a house. Problem is, everytime we ask someone they tell us "la neña esta banando." Every single house we go by, the kid is taking a bath. It's too good to be true haha but yeah. You always learn something new from different companions right? On that topic, I did find out more about Elder Rogers. He knows how to make a few desserts, that's all the cooking experience he has, so I've done a lot of the cooking so far. He didn't go to seminary which really surprised me because he knows a TON, I guess one benefit of the mission right? And he loves to play video games, he always asks me the most random video game questions... it's actually really funny, it's so random! But I feel bad because I don't know what he's talking about most of the time.. I think that's the only gap in our understanding of one another haha ;) but yeah! The T___' son asked us what music we liked because he works for the radio station here, and I said I like lo que sea, and then he asked Elder Rogers and he said la musica de videogames. And the son looked at him for a minute, didn't understand him, he thought he misunderstood the question. Hahaha it was thoroughly awkward, but really funny. So those are some of the fun experiences I've had this week! It's good to learn as much as you can about your companion though, it's the only way to get along really well and function well as a duo.
About Great-Grandma Gibbons, I hadn't heard that. I am really glad to know she passed peacefully and that as many people that could were able to see her. I don't know why the mission offices didnt tell me? But that's okay. It was on my mind all week anyway, and I figured it would happen soon. I'm glad that everything went alright, and hopefully the funeral and the people talking can help out with those who don't understand everything. I know it will all go really well! And yes dad, I will always remember her smile and her laugh, and her hugs too. Those are what I think of when I think of her, because she was always all smiles when I talked to her. I'll miss her, and I'm glad things have worked out thus far. She was a great example to any who knew her, that I'm sure of.

So this last week we got to talk to a few more of our less active members, and we aren't sure why, because they are people that I have never met and I've been here two transfers now. But somehow we are finidng them and having good discussions. And they are all part of the B___ family, so we are hoping that in the future they can all help each other out as a big family and return to church. They have all told us they would love to start going again, they just all have work supposedly. So hopefully we can get in and teach more about the family and the role of the gospel in the familia. I don't know why all the sudden we've been able to find these people, but I thank all of you who have prayed for us missionaries or have fasted or done anything like that, because we have really seen the blessings in the last two weeks! We are finding more people to teach, we are teaching in unison, and we are teaching familias and focusing all on familias who can support each other in their decisions. It's always more difficult when just a child or one parent is a member and the others have different standards. I have noticed that more than anything here, so props to all of those people that I know who have gone through that, whether things worked out better in the end, or still aren't going as well. You have all my respect, it's hard enough to live the gospel perfectly with a family supporting you. Satan is always just right there waiting for one little mistake. How important are the little things we do!!! Alma 37:6-7 talks just about that, how we need to do the little things to bring about the grand things, like the blessings or the things we need. The Lord works by small means to bring about His great and eternal purposes. We just have to trust in Him and do our part, and He will always complete His!
Oh! Last night I got to watch the Christmas devotional!! I totally forgot it was at the beginning of the month, but all the branch came to the chapel at 10 to watch it, so I stayed up and watched it with them. I watched before to where it was showing the choir from last year, with David Archuleta, and it brought me to tears. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, whether because I was getting presents when I was younger, or now that I realize that it's so much better when you give. All the christmas songs just make me think of all the great memories I have with family and friends for Christmas, and I couldn't help but let a few tears go. I bore my testimony yesterday (first one, just like Jalen! I'm going to try to do that from now on. Not like it's a competition or anything.. :D just a motivation to get me up there every time!) about the power the spirit of Christmas has to help us share our testimony of this gospel and of the Christ, the Son of God, with all around us. The Christmas season is the time of the year when everyone is focused on family, on getting together, on giving and receiving, and making memories that will be with them forever. I'm so excited for this month!!!! It's going to be the best month to go and just talk about Christ and the purpose of Navidad with any person who believes. Since last night it has seemed more and more like a tender mercy of the Lord to give to us missionaries just one more way to talk to people and touch their hearts with the Spirit. I have a goal to work harder than I have any of the last 6 months for this entire month. I hope the same spirit helps each of you to be open with your testimony of Christ, to share with all around you the marvelous life and birth of the Savior of the World. What better month or time is there to share our beliefs, as fellow Christian Latter Day Saints, than this?
I really liked President Uchtdorf's talk last night, about how sometimes we focus so much on the giving, that we forget to be good receivers too. That was so crazy to me, because earlier in my life, well it was all about the coolest present I got. That's just how kids are right? I wasn't the only one I hope. And recently I've tried to focus everything on the giving, that's been my mindset for the last few years. and now it just gets even more complex, because I don't know if I have been the most gracious or grateful receiver. So there's just another goal to set for myself! I hope we can all think about everything that we have been given, by our fellow members, our friends, our family, those around us, and more than anything our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Everything we have was given to us by them, we only have our will that is truly ours, but if we truly want to be happy in this life and the next, that will of ours needs to be aligned with Theirs, and for me, I think that aligning our will with theirs truly is one of the greatest ways to show our gratitude for everything, because with Them being the receivers, They WANT us to be happy, and They know that we are happy when we live according to Their will. But there is not a single selfish concept here, They are ultimately happy for exactly that reason, that WE are happy. That just sounds like the best never-ending cycle of happiness doesn't it?? Well now is the time to apply that to our lives, because that is the only thing faulting at this point. I hope each of us can really show our gratitude for everything we have been given, and make Them happy by doing what they want of us, which is the thing that truly makes us happy.

Well, I feel like I've talked enough. Sorry Chris and Jalen for the long email to read, but hey, hopefully you learn something. I've learned plenty from your emails along with Logan's, so obviously I'm trying really hard to do the same for everyone else, it just takes a lot more words for me. Dont judge me :) haha I'll figure out the simple teachings soon enough hopefully. Anyway, that is about all for today and this last week. Oh, besides the fact that we Abrimos la boca with a lady last Tuesday, and we talked about the family and how to best raise kids in the world with so many things going wrong, and she really liked what we were talking about, so she invited us back. She was like 9 months pregnant so that's why we talked about family. Thank goodness for clues!! Haha and so when we asked when we could come by, we found out that it would be somewhat later in the day because she and her husband are...... wait for it........ the owners of Gridos here in Justo Daract!!! :) Needless to say we were pretty excited. We just are focusing on them because if we teach them to get free ice cream, that's just selfish and it won't work. So it was a pretty selfish thought for a little bit there, but really we are excited to teach them. We didn't get in with them this week because we were so busy, and she is just about to have the baby so soon hopefully we get in. Anyway, that was a really cool experience! Again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers for families, we keep finding new ones!
Alright, I just went on quite a bit when I said I was done, so now I'm going to finish it off. I hope all of you can start getting the Christmas Spirit, and start feeling the happiness and joy and peace that come always at this time of year. I know I already have it, and I'm going to keep searching for it every day. Christmas is the best time of the year!! This may be my first Christmas away from home, but it's okay, the Spirit of it all is the same all over the world. Even minus the snow and plus the 40 degree weather. That is, degrees Celcius. Almost got my hopes up for a second :P I love you all, and wish you the best of the holiday season! Enjoy the music, the atmosphere, the decorations, the chill clean air, the snow, the lights, the trees, the beauty of it all! Therein lies the spirit of Christmas, the true spirit of giving to others and forgetting yourself. For me, that's about the closest I've ever felt to being Christlike, since we are all imperfect. Hence, the reason I love this season! Enjoy it all, it is the best time of the year. And make sure to share your testimony, and your smile, and your spirit with whoever crosses your way. :)

Elder Tyson David Gibbons