Some photos from the mission Christmas fiesta:
With Elder Hardy
With Elder Chipman
With Elder Johnson
With Elder Day
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