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!