Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

Antonela's baptism!
 
Hey everyone!  Not gonna lie, it feels like a LONG TIME since we skyped already! But it was really good to see almost all of you! I really enjoyed it. 

So Mom and Dad, to answer your question, yes Antonela was baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday! It was a really short notice thing, but she told the elders in the interview that she would love to do it on Saturday, so we planned everything short notice and had a lot of support from the Bishop and the members, so it turned out really well! So that helped us complete our goal of 3 as a companionship, and yes Dad, there are elders that think more about numbers than people, but I promise you, I´m not one of those! It's hard as a zone leader to focus on people and not just numbers, but we do it!
  
Hey we have to run a quick errand, we´ll be back in a little bit! But I wanted to send a little something before we go.

To be continued....

Alright, again, sorry for not writing a whole lot, but I had to send so many forms today. I already told you the good news about Antonela! But anyway, this week is going to be crazy, we can't leave the pench unless we have a fixed appointment in a safe place, since it's going to be really crazy with lots of drunk and drugged people for New Years. And then Friday we are going to be in Consejo again as ZL planning for January! So that's going to be crazy. I think we got 75 baptisms this month. We didn't get the goal of 100, but it's still SOOO much better than any other month this year, and hopefully we can keep it up this next year instead of doing what happened last year, as in a lot of baptisms in December and then this year has been in the 20´s or 30´s. So yeah, we are really excited! We have a really awesome zone with awesome sisters and elders!  Lots to do, but that's normal, lots of calls to answer. I feel like a secretary haha :/ Oh well, it's all worth it to help people out!

Anyway, sorry, we need to get going, but next week won't be as crazy!I love you all and hope you have a really great time this week! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!! Let's all start it out the best way possible!!! :)

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Alberto got baptized!

Hey Mom!  Alright, this will be the normal email, not trying to figure out all the craziness for skype tomorrow! Plus we have to figure out all the problems of the zone too, since not a single cyber is going to be open on the 25th, and that's the day President wants us to Skype (don't worry, I already asked him and I have permission to Skype tomorrow) but now people don't have anywhere to do it or they can't do it on the 25th, and things like that. So we´ve been calling the assistants a lot. Haha the job of zone leaders... it's not always fun.

But the Christmas party was way cool!!! I got to see Elder Braithwaite who recently left from Justo Daract, and Elder Chipman, but I didn't even get to know where he is at right now! Elder Johnson and Elder Hardy had their party Wednesday, so I didn't see any of them. But I saw Elder Fullmer! And Elder Connolly! And a bunch of other elders. So it was a really good party! We have a new senior couple serving, and they are way cool! They know where Mountain Home is! Haha and he served here in Mendoza 40+ years ago, like Elder Christofferson and everything! So he gave his testimony of the missionary work and it was super powerful! He is amazed at how much things have expanded down here since the last time he came down. So he dressed up as Santa Claus since the Ences are now home! And they gave us all Argentina flags, but instead of the sun, it's the Mendoza Mission symbol, it's way cool!!!

Also, we played a lot of soccer, and that was super fun. I didn't get burnt, I was super happy about that! I played with a bunch of latins, and there weren't many other gringos that wanted to play, so everyone was surprised, and as usual, assumed I was just a random gringo. But then when we started playing in smaller teams at the church, and I got together with Elder Pearson (plays REALLY well), Elder Bayles (also plays really well), Elder Stephans (new elder that plays really well), and Elder Jones (doesn't play soccer, but he´s like 6 foot 4 and he just tore it up as goalie!) and we played against a bunch of all latin teams, and we destroyed them! We played 7 games in a row, each game until two goals, and we just kept scoring and scoring and scoring. We decided it has to do with the fact that we are from the UNITED States of America ;) We just played together, while some of the latins like to be one-man teams. But it was really fun, all the gringos and even a few latins were cheering us on! Super fun :)

So, we had the ward Christmas party too and it turned out pretty well! We had a nativity scene that the Primary kids put on, it was really cute. And then we had a spritual thought from the bishop and then we all ate and talked. Elder Villegas and I came up with the idea to have everyone write their thoughts of Christmas and New Years, and then we put a pass along card of Christ on the front of all of them and we are going to get them laminated, and hand them all back as a little reminder. So that will hopefully be really cool! Get some confidence of the members.

And then, Saturday, we had a baptism!! Alberto got baptized!!! It was a really good baptism, he was so ready to be baptized. And his whole family showed up (well the family of the wife, who are mostly inactive) and then HIS mom showed up, and came to the confirmation Sunday as well! It was just awesome! And this weekend we are trying so hard to have one more baptism, to meet our goal and the zone´s goal! So we will let you know. The Christmas spirit will probably help us along a lot!
 
Super excited to skype with all of you tomorrow! Again, please let me know if 11 o clock works for you all, if not, it will be 3 o clock your time, and we´ll go to a different member's house at 7 our time or 3pm your time and talk then! But with Jalen, please tell him to wait for my call!

Anyway, we have some citas today and a lunch with a member so we need to get going! I guess I won't know if 11 will work for you, but that's when Elder Villegas is going to talk to his mom so I'll just get online and see if you are available, and if not, then we´ll plan on doing it at 7 like you said! I love you all! Here are some pictures of this past week. It's been a very Christmas-y week, and this week will be just the same!!! I love Christmas! The Christmas spirit is amazing, everyone is just happy! Let's help everyone feel it this year!!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, December 16, 2013

Miracles!

On exchanges with Elder Gorge,
playing with hats we found in the pench
 
Elder Gorge's delicious homemade cinnamon rolls!

Hey Mom!!  Yes we have been going crazy coordinating everything for the mission Christmas party tomorrow, but everything is set and it's going to be super great, especially to be in my old chapel ;) And I´m going to get to ask how Desiree and a few other people are doing!! And I have a reference for the sisters there in Mendoza centro, so I feel good being able to see all of them again! Also, I´ll get to see Elder Fullmer too! But I don't think I'm going to see any of the elders from my group, MAYBE Elder Chipman or Braithwaite, but Elder Wright and Elder Johnson won't be there, it's set.

And I'm pretty sure tomorrow my packages will be there under their Christmas tree that they will have set up! And so I´m going to enjoy that! :) 

Elder Villegas is from Viña del Mar, Chile. So maybe Dad will be excited to talk to him for a little bit! Speaking of Skype, I think we are going to skype the 24th as well,  just later in the afternoon or just after skyping with Jalen! Please coordinate with him, so we know if I'll talk to him first or with you first, but I know he is skyping you all at 7-8-ish his time, so 1-2 your time. And we have a little easier schedule, only being 4 hours apart. So it all depends on when Elder Villegas´ mom can do it. But Jalen did email today so I emailed him back and we´ll figure it all out! It doesn't matter if he doesn't tell me the time until Monday, I think we´ll probably just come to a cyber, I don't think there is any member with internet or anything.

So yesterday they baptized one of the four kids, the other three fell through because the family is going on vacation. I understand vacation but sometimes I feel like people could have their priorities a little more aligned! But it's alright, we have a set baptism this weekend, A_____ the husband of a reactivating sister, so that will bring our zone to 6 out of 9, and we have a lot of other people that are to be baptized this weekend and the next, so our zone will for sure get our goal of 9!!! We are super excited.

So Saturday we had a miracle, and that led to a few miracles, even if they were small, on Sunday as well. So we literally walked out of our apartment, walked two houses down, and we saw this older gentleman, so we talked to him. I didn't understand anything because he was out of breath, but we understood that he had problems in his lungs, so Elder Villegas told him "Hermano, we are Priesthood holders in our church, can we come to your house and give you a blessing?" And he said yes, come in, and we went to his house, which was the next one, (so we´re neighbors!!!). We met his wife, we started teaching a little, we explained the blessings, and we gave a blessing to her and him, and invited them to church. The hermano told us before we left "Elderes, whatever you want me to do, we´ll do it" and we were  just stunned. So on Sunday, we had to pick them up in a car. So we get a member at the last minute (miracle!! People were just not helping us at all!) and then we make it two block and his car dies, so we get out, and RIGHT THEN our investigator who's being baptized this weekend, A_____, walked by, and decided to help us (little miracle). And then a less active member stopped and helped us too (another little miracle). And then I said a prayer that the car would work, and five minutes later, it was running without problems (miracle!!)! And then we got to the couple's house (they are an older couple, he´s 88 and she´s in the late 70´s) and they were still there waiting for us (little miracle) and so we brought them to church, and they LOVED IT! And then the sister that just returned from her mission to Brasil last week went with us, and she told us right when we first introduced ourselves "Elders, I really want to work, can I do visits with you two and work with you??" and we of course said.... no. Haha just kidding, YES!!! Please!!! So she is going to visit the grandparents with us this week, and to other visits as well. But when she got to the pulpit to share her testimony, even though she said a lot of words in Portuguese, it didn't matter, I still understood because the spirit was SUPER STRONG. Elder Villegas and I were trembling. I don't know if you´ve ever had the sensation, but our hearts were beating at top speed just listening to her share her testimony. That defiinitely shows how powerful of a missionary she was. So she should help us out quite a bit!

Anyway, those are the few miracles I wanted to share. We have our little troubles too, with other investigators, but we are going to overcome. There were too many prayers answered yesterday to leave any room for doubt! God is in charge, and He will always help those who want to follow Him, right? I know that without a doubt. So I´ll be doing my best to have the Christmas spirit and spread it to others!! I hope you all enjoy this week, and can prepare even more for Christmas next week!! Don't forget, don't ever take Christ out of Christmas! He is the reason we celebrate, but also the reason we have everything we have already, disregarding presents and parties and whatever other things we may focus on. He offered us His life, and the chance to change and follow Him, so think about it, what gift are you willing to give to Him this Christmas? This is more serious than a new year's resolution, since those usually last a few weeks or months. He deserves more than that, I think! Think about it, and do everything you can to do it! I love you Mom and Dad and family! I'll be talking to you next week!!

Elder Tyson Gibbons
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

San Rafael!

With Elder Marsh and Elder Johnson
 
Mendoza Centro Ward missionaries
 
With Elder Connolly and former mission leader
from Mendoza Centro Ward
 
With current mission leader from
Mendoza Centro Ward, a newly returned missionary
 
Hey Mom! 
 
Okay, first things first, having to send a lot more information every Monday, my emails might be a little shorter, or at least today when I´m getting used to everything. And I'm also helping Elder Villegas with his college applications as I type, so please forgive me this week!

But things are going really good here. San Rafael is a big zone, but we have a lot of good elders and 4 sisters! There are a lot of new elders too, but they are learning how to work well! We just had zone conference yesterday (oh, sorry, that's why i didn't email yesterday!!!) and we are all just SUPER PUMPED to get out and work!! One of our areas has four baptisms set for this weekend, so that is way cool!! This has been a good month so far, and it will continue being a good month!
 
I´m glad to hear the Creche turned out very well!! I did miss it this year. I don't like the humid heat, and I really miss all the other Christmas songs that I can't hear right now. But it's alright, we are singing Christmas hymns in a lot of our appointments so that helps us feel the Christmas Spirit as well! And I´ve come to like that Christmas isn't just a big show of lights down here (although I´d much rather have lights than a bunch of drunks and drugged people shooting fireworks and guns... I think that might be a safety hazard? Haha!)
 
We have the mission Christmas party the 17th, and I'll get to be with my old zone, Mendoza! 
 
So when we had traslados and everything, guess who I saw in the terminal? BOTH Elder Fullmer and Elder Southwick!!! And Elder Southwick just talked to me about Albardon for literally an hour, and he missed his bus, I felt pretty bad!! But things are going SOOO WELLL there!! A lot of families have come back, and they baptized the kid we did a church tour with! So they are seeing a lot of changes! I was super excited to hear all of that!!

And then I talked with Elder Fullmer a little bit, he is district leader now! Same with Elder Connolly! Those two are studs, they both taught me more than I taught them I think. And Elder Fullmer already trained somewhat, it was a Latino that was trained in the other mission, but oh well. I´m a grandpa! haha.
 
So I mentioned a little more about the leadership council in the email to Dad, but it was super cool, and guess what we ate for lunch?? TACOS!!!! I was super excited! And I guess that's a tradition so.... I am excited to eat tacos at least 5 more times! :)
 
Last pday was super fun! I'll send pictures. We played volleyball and soccer, and I just had a lot of fun, having not played for a long time. I didn't get burned, I put on sunscreen! Well I didn't put it on my wrist where my watch has been, so I did get a red line on my wrist, but it was alright! :) And I'm excited to play at the Christmas party as well. Everyone is always surprised to see a gringo play so well (even though I feel like I still don't play that well) and they say I'm the first gringo they´ve met that actually knows how to play! So that made me feel good at least :)
 
So it was pretty hard to say goodbye to Mendoza people, literally and physically. Literally because when I was with them, I had just gotten to know them well and then I was leaving. And physically because well with everything we had to do and the schedules and addresses of everyone, I only got to say goodbye to five people haha of ALL the people I had met! But that's alright, they all told me to leave my facebook info with Elder Connolly so hopefully he´s handing that out! 
 
Anyway, today we have a bunch of really important appointments so we´ve gotta get going! I love you all, and will make sure to write you more next week!

Elder Tyson Gibbons
 
These pictures are 1) Elder Marsh, me and Elder Johnson; 2) the missionaries of Mendoza Centro ward!; 3) us with the former ward mission leader; 4) the new ward mission leader, he´s awesome, got back from his mission in September!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Transfer Time Already!






Hello!

Wow, I can't believe how crazy your trip ended...ask my companion, he saw the worry as I was reading that whole story! I hope everything works out with the luggage and also Dad´s arm/knee. It seems we have bad luck with things like that. :/ But I´m glad the majority of the things you planned on doing worked out!

So first things first, María did get baptized on Saturday! :) It was a really good baptism, a really crazy weekend. The baptism started at 9:30 at night(we had permission, don't worry) and ended an hour later, but we stayed and cleaned, so we got home about 11:30, but we both woke up yesterday morning without a problem! Baptisms seem to help with your excitement! :) Haha but it was a really good baptism, really spiritual, and the members were all talking to Desireé, her daughter, asking her when she was going to get baptized, and instead of being turned off about the whole thing, she just told them she wanted to know a little more! And since we haven't taught her any complete lesson yet... :) problem solved! We have an appt. tonight with them, so that will be the start of another baptism! She already loves everything she has seen and learned, so that helps. She spent about 4 hours in President Ávila´s house with Carla, President´s daughter, talking about EVERYTHING, temples, studies, their future plans, a little bit of gospel stuff, activities of the ward in the future, everything. So that was AWESOME!!!  So Elder Connolly will make sure that all happens!

 I guesss I just gave it away... so we got transfer calls last night, and I´m leaving! Can you believe it?? I couldn't. I didn't want to leave at all, it was a big surprise! I´m going down south, to San Rafael(where I went during my time in Justo Daract for a conference with the Area 70, Elder Resek) and I´m going to be with Elder Villegas! He was the other district leader in Maipú with Elder Galicia and Elder Alberro, so I already know him prettty well. And I at least know that he works like crazy! So that's going to help me even more to forget about the time! I´m excited for that part, that we´re going to work like crazy. Plus we started out the month really well. Looking at the averages for the different zones, our zone had two baptisms this last weekend, and San Rafael had even more! Just this past weekend, so that's awesome! The zone I´m entering seems to already be in good hands, I'll just do my best to keep it going!  
 
As for Elder Connolly, he is now the District Leader!!! And... he is training!!! So he´s getting slapped with those two responsabilities just like I did with Elder Fullmer! Now I´m curious to know what Elder Fullmer is doing, he has the same time as Elder Connolly, 9 months. I can totally see Elder Fullmer training! He already trained me, so I guess I'll find out eventually!
 
As for the hermanas, Hermana Enos is going to open an area, in Malargue (very south of the mission) AND train, AGAIN, this being her 3rd transfer in the mission!! The elders in La Favorita are staying together. Elder Connolly will help them out too, he´s just taking the reigns!
 
I´m sorry you didn't get to see the giraffes, Kate!! I would've been disappointed too. I never got to go the zoo here, but I think there were giraffes. But I'm going about 2 hours away, so oh well, maybe in the future!
 
Well today we are having an asado with the hermanas in Mendoza centro and a few members from different wards, as well as Elder Da Silva and his companion. And then we´re going to play soccer, volleyball, and enjoy the last pday! It's going to be hot, so I´m going to buy some sunblock haha. 
 
So this last week as well I did intercambios again with the Favorita, and we did service, which turned into a six hour service, mostly because Elder Alfaro was trying to help with the first project and created a big second project... fixing their roof, since he put his foot through the roof! Haha it was really embarrassing... I'll send pictures of that as well. 
 
Other than that, there´s not much to report, sorry for a lame email as well! But I have pictures this time! :) I hope this first week of December turns out well! I already feel the Christmas spirit so I´m super excited for Christmas!! I hope you all enjoy the cold and the snow, if it snows, and the lights and everything! I'll enjoy the fireworks and roasted pig! :) 
 
Anyway, I love you all and hope you have a great week, and especially hope that all those problems get resolved! :/ Tell Dad to be careful!! I´d like him to be in one piece when I get back!

Elder Tyson Gibbons
 
PS  These pictures are of the baptism, of our celebration beforehand, ice cream at Bianco y Nero´s (I went there with Elder Day twice when we traveled here to Mendoza) and the service project that I did with Elder Alfaro.  The ones of the baptism, the one that doesn't have me has a recent convert who got baptized about 2 months ago, and he´s a stud. He´s the only guy I´ve given besitos to down here (you know how they like touch cheeks and make kissing noises? Well he always gives us a hug(to everyone actually, not just us) and gives us one besito, it was pretty uncomfortable the first time, but I´ve kinda gotten used to it because he´s a really cool guy, he helped us out so much with María, and was SUPER excited to hear she was getting baptized!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mendoza Photos




 
 Hey family!

Sorry I didn't write yesterday, it was another one of those "holidays" where everything shuts down but NO ONE knows what holiday it actually is haha. So we didn't end up doing much either, we tried to go to a few museums because supposedly they only are open on Mondays that are holidays, and that was a bust, so we ended up just walking through centro to get back on a bus and go back to the pench. We ran into a bunch of elders shopping, including Elder Day! I hadn't thought about it, but when I saw him, I remembered that yesterday was his last pday! It's so weird, my "dad" is dying this next week (that's the weird "mission-speak" for saying his trainer is headed home next week). I can't believe how fast things are going, I don't like it! So I got to talk to him a little bit, and then we left, and I probably won't see him again in the mission haha. That's so weird. But then we just went back and slept, because it was a really cold rainy day, just like Oregon. We LOVED IT! Today is pretty cold too, minus the rain sadly. Everyone is out and about in coats and pants, and I want to run around in shorts and a t-shirt. The people in Mendoza are funny :P 
 
So, M_____ and her daughter didn't end up getting baptized. We had another week where we couldn't meet with them! We went to their house on Thursday and M_____ was really sick. She had no voice, and her sister almost didn't let us talk to her, but M_____ insisted. She tried telling us what was going on and why we couldn't meet with her but promised she would try to come on Sunday, depending on if she felt alright. She didn't end up coming either, so we aren't sure how she is feeling. But we´re going to call tonight and find out. So that's still a work in progress! Someone is doing everything possible to keep them from being baptized....
 
But this week is week 6 of the transfer and we have big plans! We don't have any idea what's going to happen for transfers so we are just going to work like crazy! Plus I cannot get the thought out of my mind that I have only 6 months left. Last night we talked to a return missionary whose wife got baptized about 3 months ago, and he was talking all about the moment when he was interviewed by his stake president and released as a missionary... and it just hit me even harder, and I have been thinking about it every minute since then. So, I just want to work! In district meeting today I was trying so hard just to have a really spiritual meeting, and normally when a certain someone makes a comment trying to be funny, I let him do it so he doesn't get mad. But today I just ignored him and kept talking, because the spirit was really strong and I really didn't want to lose it. And I don't want to ever. So hopefully he can recognize a little change in attitude and maybe follow the example! I´ve been patient with everyone but he is getting closer to the edge than anyone else I´ve met. (And I´m not talking about my companion, don't worry!) I love this difficult elder, and I´ve tried to help him so much, and I won't stop. Sometimes I get frustrated when I can't help him as much as I wish I could! Ahhhh, the life of a district leader :/
 
Thanks for the pictures! It's almost good enough seeing the pictures of Africa, although I would still like to go sometime! I love traveling, seeing different cultures. We were in a part of our area on Saturday that I had never seen before, and it reminded me a lot of Ecuador, so that was a cool little moment.
 
It's really weird to think that Thanksgiving is in two days. I don't know what we´re going to be doing, but our lunch is definitely NOT going to be anything close to a regular Thanksgiving. So we´ll see how that all turns out! 
 
By the way, Happy Birthday Mom and Yeager! I know I´ve missed A LOT of birthdays, but I remember now! It's hard to forget you two with a holiday so close by! Hope it's a great birthday for the both of you!

Alright, I don't have much more to comment, we don't have much time. But very unfortunately there are a few questions I need because yesterday I received my..."trunky" papers, and to make it worse, they even called them that in the email! Those jerk elders in the offices :P  But I need some answers to some questions really quick...
 
1)What's the email address of President Chick?
 
2)The stake president is still President Chick, right? [I think those questions are out of order...haha]
 
3)If my parents are coming to pick me up [I know you´ve said probably not... but I just keep thinking about it a lot, and even if Dad could somehow come down and stay for two extra days, I would be really happy to see some people once more before I leave. If not, I understand. I just want to be sure I guess.]
 
Just some questions I need answered so I can send that to the secretary next Monday...
 
Well I attached some photos as well. Last Monday we walked around the big park and I took a few pictures of the lake and a cool looking museum and stuff like that. So that's what those are. I´m sorry for not having written yesterday! And for a short email today, but I just want to get to work. I love you all, hope you have a great week! I´ll talk to you next Monday.
 
Elder Tyson Gibbons 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Photos!




 
 (Photos:  These first ones are at Cerro de la Gloria, the district with the hermanas at the top by the big monument, and then me and Elder Connolly with a view of Mendoza.  The last two pictures are from the top of a member's house, who live on the roof of this building, and we climbed up to the highest point and took pictures. Our eyes both look really blue in the picture, except I was sunburnt that day and I did NOT like being in the sun, so I happened to blink at the opportune moment.)

Hey Mom!  
 
Well this last week was just crazy, it was hard to get into houses, and then there were a few days with crazy wind, even zonda (was hoping to escape that leaving San Juan) and we are just worn out! But it's all for missionary work, so oh well!!
 
I sent pictures already today, I got my card fixed so that was a huge relief. Now I just have to print a bunch of pictures off to send back to Albardon!
 
So yesterday was a really good Sunday again!! It wasn't freezing, and there were a ton of people in church, it was awesome! But the best part is when we´re standing outside the Gospel Principles class waiting for an investigator to show up, and M_____ and her daughter walk into the church! We were super excited! They both loved the class and Sacrament Meeting, and they were welcomed by first the stake president, then the stake secretary, and then even Carla and Leticia, President Ávila´s daughters came and sat by them the whole time! It was just perfect. We´re trying to get their baptism set for this weekend, since last week we couldn't meet with them at all! But that shows commitment, not a single visit during the week and they show up to church even earlier than last time! They are so great!! And they are already really good people so it's not a huge change for them!
 
The hermanas in Uspallata had their baptism this past weekend!!! We were super excited for them! Bad news, we didn't get to go up and do the interview, and even worse news, we never will, because President did give the branch president permission to do the interviews. So much for going up there :/ We´re still trying to come up with some idea to go up, such as an activity in Uspallata, and we already have permission to go up with the other hermanas in our ward (not the favorita....but oh well). The hermanas told me last night that the choir there in Uspallata wants to go and sing in the plaza and hand out little pass along cards between songs, and so they wanted us to go up there for that, which sounds good to me! I love Christmas songs. It won't quite be like jazz choir, but it will be cool to go up there anyway!!
 
Wow I can't believe you´ve already sent the Christmas packages, it seems like it's NOT time for that yet... why is this year passing so quickly?? But I'll be looking for the packages. If they are just the envelope ones, they should be here in a couple weeks. I got a package from Kenzie last week!! That was super cool! Thanks favorite cousin :)  A bunch of blue raspberry Tootsie Rolls and a card. I´m rationing them out, so I don't eat them all in one sitting! They´ve almost lasted me a week now, with quite a few left! :)
 
I will be looking at prices and stuff for shoes. Of course Adidas and Nike are just super expensive, but I'll try and find a not so expensive pair, and of course I'll fill you in on any details. Thank you very very very much for the Christmas money, by the way. I'll use it wisely. I might save a bit for souveniers for a time that is still far in the future... (Tyson's mission president asked them not to buy lots of souvenirs until they're about to go home.)
 
I hadn't heard anything about the Philippines, that is so crazy. I am glad that all the elders and hermanas are alright! I hope the members and people can put things back in order soon... A recently returned missionary (home 2 months) gave the class in Priesthood yesterday, and it was about service, and the spirit was super strong, I loved it. He shared an experience about a family he was trying to teach in Buenos Aires, and they were somewhat interested, and then there was a flood, and their pench was filled to about torso height. And the family they were teaching was outside trying to save all their stuff because it was just an adobe house, made of dirt, and the elders passed by on the way to lunch. He said they didn't even think twice, they just walked over, got the normal "Elders you´re going to get dirty!" response, and just told them we don't care about our clothes, what needs to be done still? And so for the next hour they swam in and out of the house, taking out the stove, the fridge, and they brought their son out who had been stranded inside as well. And they didn't stay and hang out after. They finished, and kept going on their way. But he said when they came out of the house, there was almost the whole neighborhood just watching them. I can't even imagine that, it's like a dream service that I would love to do. But I would never wish upon anyone a flood or anything. But he said that the next week, they started teaching 21 of the other families in that neighborhood, just because they had seen them help that one family. Service is just so simple but it can work miracles! I wish so much that it was easier to find service to do here, but everyone just says no... we will keep on trying! If I was an elder there in the Philippines, I feel like I would be super sad to leave the area without being able to help all those people. When there was an earthquake in San Juan, the taxi driver Ariel that we always called in Albardon saw the elders in their white shirts and ties helping people with their houses, their belongings, their families and kids, and that's what opened him up to our religion a lot. And he said he saw the change in a lot of people in the area as well. Service is so awesome!!
 
Speaking of service, we did service for a member on Saturday, scraping off old paint in his bathroom, but we had a blast, I´ve never had so much fun doing that haha. But he came in about halfway through and told us a quote that his brother or companion had told him. Dad if you could translate, that would be great ;) "Servicio is como hacer piss (that's not a bad word down here, sorry for any expletives) en los pantalones, todo el mundo lo puede ver, pero solo usted lo puede sentir." Hahaha I cracked up when he said that. Then I had to explain it to Elder Connolly. Fun times :) I have pictures, but on my sd card, and I forgot to bring that right now. All my other pictures that were saved from being erased got taken off my sd card and put onto my thumbdrives, and that's what I have with me.  So next time I'll send some more!
 
I can't believe that you´re going on your trip so soon! That sounds so crazy. Make sure to get some good pictures! 
 
Whoa, Ben and Emily are dating?? Well that's just awesome. Haha I feel so weird being out of the loop with all of that stuff. I wish them the best though! Hopefully Ben will shave his beard a little :) That thing was crazy! At least 8 months ago when they were in the birthday video haha. Love you Ben!
 
Anyway, today we´re going to eat some empanadas and go to Soppelsa, a really good ice cream place to celebrate (don't want to say it....) a year and a half last Saturday! It's so crazy. I try to forget it, but these 6 months are going to be great, because I'm not going to waste a day. I know so much already and I can speak, so I´m going to use it all to my advantage!! It's all just coming too fast.
 
Anyway, we need to get going, the cyber is going to close. But I hope you all have a super exciting week, especially my family in Morocco! Can't wait to hear how things are going next week! I love you all and am very grateful for your support and letters and everything else! I really wouldn't be able to do this without any support! 
 
Elder Tyson Gibbons 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Best Two Years

Hey family!!! (Sorry, if there´s a word you don't understand, the missing letter is an f because I have to slam the key down to make it work.)

So it has been a good week, lots of divisions with other elders, but lots of miracles as well! Even though I HATE being away from my own bed and pench, we got a lot of good work done! I got to know la Favorita as well as the Cementista/Bolougne Sur Mer branches (the Favorita I went with Elder Degracia, and to the others I was with Elder Wahl, he has the same time as Elder Thurgood and those Elders, and Elder Egbert from my group was with Elder Connolly and got to meet some of our investigators.)
 
You asked some questions--as for downloading those songs, I did download them but then the DVD player can't read the file so I can't listen to them anyway. But one of the other elders has the CD, so it's alright! 
 
So yesterday and Saturday it was really cold! It was even raining, and I heard from Elder Southwick that it actually rained in Albardon! It's a miracle! Haha but despite of the cold, M_____ (our investigator here) and her daughter both came to church!!!! We were so happy!!!!! So M_____ should be getting baptized this weekend, but she might wait until next weekend to do it together with her daughter! But they both loved it! And I figured if they got there on a day when everyone else, members or no, took the weather as an excuse, they must be pretty serious. On top of that, we all fasted or her, and she fasted until 9 o clock Saturday since she has to take medication! But it was all just a very firm confirmation that she really does want all of this in her life. So, this week we will be talking to them again and we´re going to plan out how they want the baptism to be! We both think, Elder Connolly and I, that it would be awesome to have them do it together. But we will see! 
 
We invited R_____ to come, the one who wants to get baptized in December, but he had prior commitments I guess, and next week he´s going to Chile to vote and to see his mom, but then he should be coming after that! So he didn't come. Neither did the friend of the ward mission leader, and neither did the new American girl we met last Friday! We blame all those on the rain, since people just aren't used to it here. It was really, really cold. 
 
So on Friday we were going to have a recorrido with another invesitgator, who told us an hour late that she was just finishing work and would be on her way in 10 minutes, and then another hour later we call and her phone is off :/ So we decided to go and talk to people on the street, and this girl H_____ walked by and we started talking in Spanish, and then we asked if she spoke English, and so we talked in English, and we invited her to do a recorrido. She couldn't right then, but she asked us what time the meetings were, because she´s going to be here for a month and wanted to attend a church, and she walks by the chapel every day! We were so excited for her to come, but oh well! We didn't get an address or a number either, I think we were blown away to see an iphone down here. But after she told us she would come, Santiago, President's son (who was there for Mutual), came up and started asking us about her, asked if she was going to do a recorrido, if she seemed interested. And we told him that she was coming to church, and he got SUPER excited, like he had just seen missionary work happen in front of his eyes for the first time. It made us feel pretty awesome. :) And he remembered her name and everything, and all Sunday was waiting for her to show up just like us, and after church he was disappointed as well. It was like having a third companion!
 
That's awesome that Ellie is going to Alabama!! I do remember her, she´ll be an awesome missionary. And it's just awesome how many missionaries our stake has!
 
I can't believe your trip has already arrived... you told me about it just a couple months ago it seems! Well I hope you enjoy that. That sounds way crazy fun!! I wish I could go.
 
Wow, Kate is like the favorite cousin right now, eh? That's way cool, maybe that will teach a little calmness to the crazy cousins haha :) I´m super glad to hear that they love it though! She will be a good mom someday, I agree.
 
As for the other English speakers, one doesn't live in our area, and we found where the first one lives, and we gave them our number, but we´re going to pass by today to see if we can get a better appointment.
 
So last week was stake conference, and they released our ward mission leader, so now we do not have one! Which doesn't improve things much. His goal for baptisms was 1 a year for every member of the ward. That's ideally what it should be, but we still have a lot of things to do before we make it to that! But he is now in the High Council, so that's why they released him.
 
We elders in the pench get along just fine, I just have to fight for the phone every night. Since it was the phone for the area of the other elders, one of them gets too playful and won't let me use it, even though in zone meeting they straight out said that the district leader has priority due to all the calls and verifying we have to do! So yeah, that's about the only problem though.
Last pday turned out really good! We did everything we planned. I have a bunch of awesome pictures.... but I guess I have a virus on my card and the pictures are there, the space is occupied, but the computer can't open the files.... :( so I hope I don't lose those pictures. I´m going to take it to a photo shop because a guy told me that they can recuperate things like that. So we´ll do that later today. It turned out way good though! The hermanas enjoyed it all as well. Hermana Norr, the new hermana that is in Uspallata (in the mountains) is from Washington, the same stake as Kelly´s roommate Kelsey! So that was way weird, and then she said that before coming she had hung out with Kelsey a few times, so she might know who Kelly is, but it all depends on the timing... that would be super weird/crazy. I guess I should ask Kelly if she ever met her!
 
But anyway, the hermanas in Uspallata have two baptisms, one this weekend and the next as well!!! We´re super excited or them! And we´re still trying to figure out if I´m supposed to do the interview. We both hope I do (Elder Connolly and me, of course) because we both want to go to Uspallata and take pictures, and be in the actual mountains! Not many elders get to go up there, what luck no? We also heard from a member that some movie was filmed over there in Uspallata, called "years in Tibut" or something like that. They think that Brad Pitt was in it. But yeah, I'll have to look up that movie in about a year!....haha.
 
I am not getting mail that much more frequently, but I'm going to the offices today to get a baptismal tunic for the hermanas in Uspallata, so I'll get more mail!
 
Well I'm not sure what else to mention, it was a good week and this week will be just as good, if not better! Today Elder Connolly and I just want to rest, we are both exhausted. I don't have time to do anything at night since I fight for the phone until 10 o clock, and then between then and 10:30 I´m making all the calls, but oh well. That's just part of the calling! And I'll do my best to fulfill it.
 
Oh one more thing, I heard from Elder Southwick today. Basically, story made short, Albardon is doing SOOOO well!!! They have a baptism this Saturday, and then the other 4 people in that kid's family will follow in the future (it's the kid we did a recorrido with the last Monday I was there!!!) And then three other people I taught have baptismal dates too, and one of them has quit smoking and drinking, and I'm pretty sure if he´s getting baptized he´s going to have to get married. So that is sooooo cool!!! And one of the Sundays in the past month they had 96 people there! So many people! Unfortunately the next Sunday there were only 24 (no idea what happened there....) but oh well, I was just super content to know that things were going so well there. It basically took a huge weight off my chest that I´ve had these past weeks. And Enzo, the kid being baptized this Saturday, of course asked Elder Southwick to baptize him! So that's really good news too!
 
Now I just have to hear from Elder Fullmer somehow. I´m with his MTC district leader right now, and they got along really well, so that should be fun on Christmas, if we are all together!
 
So yeah, that was our week, and all the news I can think of. Mom, just let me know about the shoes, next week I guess! I love you all, and hope that this week is as good for you as it will be for us! I´ll have pictures of a baptism hopeully this weekend, and if not, the next for sure! This work is so amazing. I´m so happy, and I'm even happier seeing other people drop off weights from their mind and heart and become happier too! There is literally nothing better I could think of doing. Elder Connolly and I both were talking to each other yesterday, and it was crazy that we had the exact same thought: that the mission is just the best possible thing any young man could do, because it changes us, opens our eyes, makes us see differently, gives us a new sense of identity, and shows us what real happiness is. It's pretty awesome, how similar Elder Connolly and I think. We have good unity in the companionship, that's for sure! But seriously, I wish everyone could or would experience a mission. I´m slowly getting closer and closer to understanding more of why they call it the Best Two Years. They really are, I just feel so different, without weights that I had before. There´s nothing better! Trust me.
 
Elder Tyson Gibbons
 
¡¡¡Viva Argentina!!! :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

No Shave November?

Hello! Well I suppose President Ávila probably has never even heard of no shave November, so I don't think it will be a big problem down here haha. I´m not sure I´ll ever do that again in my life if I´m honest. It bugs me now, I guess that's a mission thing. Speaking of moustaches and all, Oscar is rockin that up in the picture you sent! Hahaha he looks like a man already. I´m glad he´s still around!  But holy cow, Nathan looks like a giant toothpick. He needs a haircut.

I guess I got here just in time to see the familia Avila at church, because the first Sunday the whole family was there, but then this week was stake conference (first and probably last time I attend three stake conferences in three different areas in one year) and only the three kids were there. Santiago still cracks me up, he´s a little mini-me minion version of President Ávila. But then Carla, his older daughter, always leads the music and is in charge of the youth choir that sang yesterday. And then the second oldest just hangs out with her friends all the time. But she likes talking to the elders, while Carla seems to avoid them. It's all for the best, because either the elders are scared that they´ll do something wrong and Carla will report it to her dad, or her parents told her to avoid us since she is 19 and we have just a bunch of elders, ranging from ages 18-22. Probably for the best! But I´m excited to meet the family a little more. We´ll be eating lunch with them sometime, I just don't know when yet. But I don't know where President would´ve been on Sunday; he has never come to any other church meeting except stake conferences in other areas I've been in, like in San Juan and San Luis.

This area is doing well with missionary work. We have some very, very good investigators. They didn't come to church yesterday though :/  But one of them is a mom who attended general conference and loved it, and just hasn't come back to church yet, and then we´re teaching an older gentleman from Chile. Long story short, he got sent out of his country and has lived here for about 40 years, and hopes to return someday. But he just recently told us he wants to get baptized, but in December after his 70th birthday... so yeah. And then we are working with various less active families to help them come back and help the kids get baptized. So we really do have some awesome people we are teaching! They just need to come to church (as always...)

But, awesome thing about being in Mendoza Centro is that we sometimes meet foreigners. We were walking and some girl said hello to us, but in a regular American accent, so we stopped. I'm sure we just had blank stares on our faces, and she asked if we spoke English, and we said YES!!! So we talked to her a little bit and found out she´s from San Diego, doing a study abroad for UNSC (I am pretty sure that is what she said). We asked to go to her house sometime, and she said she will be here until December, and we just need to find where she lives now. We went last night but she wasn't there. Then last night after looking for her house, we walked by this teenager, probably 17 or 18 years old, and we all said hola. Then we walked away and he said "How´s it going, my buddies???" but in an Australian accent! Turns out he lived in Australia for 8 years and then came back here to be with more of his family. His stepdad is Australian and speaks English, and his mom doesn't anymore, she´s Argentine. And his sister I think speaks as well. But he walked with us all the way back to the pench, and we got his directions and we´ll be going by there as well! I´m so stoked to speak English! And teach in English! It's gonna be cool. That doesn't happen anywhere else on the mission I bet.

So the ward is not very involved in the work, go figure, but we realized after listening to a bunch of testimonies from the youth that we are going to focus on them and get references from them and teach their friends, because at this point only the youth have that fire burning inside. All the older members are dead concerning missionary work :/  We´ll be doing our best to get that fire going again! As for our ward mission leader, he´s just crazy. He has the most random, weird ideas, like having all the missionaries march into the chapel singing hymns at the top of our lungs after his talk in the priesthood session of stake conference on Saturday. (Didn't end up happening, and good thing too, since and Elder Connolly and I were the only ones there! And there was a grand attendance of maybe 25 men. Really, really sad.)

I can't believe how big Hayden is now, he looks just giant compared to last time I saw him! Well, same with the others too.  Those are some great Halloween pictures, by the way. I can't believe Jenn painted herself green!!! That's way crazy. But I like the Minion idea, and Batman haha. And then that's a pretty cool knight costume that Hayden has on! And Jacob looks like a mini James Bond haha!
 
Anyway, for today we have a district activity planned. We're getting together with the four hermanas and a few members from the other elders' ward. We´re going to go to the giant park, have an asado, then hike Cerro de la Gloria and take some pictures. It´s going to be fun. Since the hermanas in Uspallata (that's an area, but it's basically two hours from Mendoza, on the way to Chile, in the mountains) are coming down today to be with us and for the zone meeting tomorrow, we figured we should take advantage and do something all together. So I´ll send those pictures when I can. Playing soccer went well last week! We formed a team and we won four times in a row, but it was just four really fast games to 2 goals, and it lasted a grand total of 15 minutes. And when we lost the fifth one, I went inside to drink water and I felt like I was going to die. I´ve never felt so out of shape in my life, its awful! :/  We´ll probably keep playing so that at the Christmas party I can give a good performance, otherwise I'll peak at the beginning and be dead for the rest of the day haha. But I had fun anyway.

I also had an interesting experience giving a blessing this week to a 7 year old, here´s the story. We showed up at the chapel at 1 for interviews, since my appointment was at 1:15, and there were still 8 elders waiting for their interviews, so we basically spent the whole day in the chapel. But the hermanas from our ward called us and asked us if we could come and give a blessing to the son of a friend of a less active member. So we thought it was all normal and everything, but then when we got there and I asked what the problem was, she basically told me that she thinks her son gets possessed.... so I had no idea what to do. I just gave a blessing, but with all the things she had told me ringing in my ears, and the kid randomly burst out laughing during the blessing, and slowly moved his head down and down and down. I basically felt really really awkward. When I finished his head was almost to his knees and I had to just bend over and over to keep my hands on his head. It was quite... uncomfortable. Hopefully it doesn't happen again anytime soon. 

Well we have to go soon, to make sure we can buy everything and get things set up before lunchtime.  But I have had quite a few experiences this last week that have just reminded me again and again why I´m here on a mission, and how precious the time really is. And then in conference the spirit was very strong as well. So don't worry about me too much, I know why I´m here! And I know what I need to do to help others, and I have no questions or doubts as to whether I'll do it or not. As much as I don't like it, I realize I only have 6 months left, and I'm going to make it the best six months yet! Teach, testify to, strengthen and love the people I meet, that's the routine I´ll be following! There´s no better cycle to follow if someone wants to be truly happy! I love you Dad, Mom, Nathan and Kate! I´ll make sure to send pictures next week! Have a good week, November is already here!!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello from.... Mendoza!!

Well, does that end your suspense? We finally found out transfers Tuesday night, and I am now in Mendoza Centro, close to the Plaza Independencia, basically where ALL the famous attractions of the Mendoza elders are found, the zoo, Cerro de la Gloria, hikes in the mountains, giant parks, dowtown Mendoza.... does that give any information about the kind of area I´m in??

So, I am now in a very, VERY RICH area, completely different than where I´ve ever been in my mission. It's been a hard change. I´m still not used to it, and even Elder Connolly, my new companion (he arrived with Elder Fullmer, so this is his 4th transfer), has a map and is always looking at it, because it's just so many streets and it's a BIG area. It's going to take a little longer to become familiar with everything. Another interesting thing! Our area was split this transfer, and we share the same ward with two Hermanas! So that's interesting, although it makes our job and their job a little easier, less area to cover. Another interesting thing: our ward is the ward where President Ávila´s family goes every Sunday, how´s that for pressure?!?!  It's beeen super good, and they told me that Hermana Ávila had only come twice in the last month or so, and that President had never come--they're always off visiting other zones. Guess who was there yesterday? Haha ALL of them, it was so cool!!! I´ve met a few members, but know the names of two of them so far, a recently married couple from Buenos Aires. She was baptized only 2 months ago!! And then the ward mission leader. But, things will improve, right?
 
So, if you´re going to look up the area or anything, just look for the Plaza Independencia, then close to north is the Parque Central, and we live right next to that. So we have a LOT of area. We live just to the east of the street Peru, there´s a roundabout and then to the east there´s another roundabout, surrounded by apartment complexes, and we live in one of those. We have four kioscos beneath our pench, plus a laundry mat (AWESOME!!!! Laundry took 30 minutes today, and it's cheap! I´m happy about that at least). And the other crazy news... it's a four man pench!! Four elders!! I´ve never had one of those, and from what I saw in Necochea and Reitro in San Juan, it's crazy. And it has been. It's me and Elder Connolly, then Elder Degracia from Panama and Elder Alfaro (who is from my group) from Peru. It's interesting. It's not one of the nicest penches... but oh well, I won't complain!
 
So Elder Manjarres from San Luis, who I mentioned a few times at the beginning of my mission, is with Elder Southwick now! I hope things are going well for them. I spent the entire week taking pictures and teaching one last time all the people I had met, and they all were very grateful for everything we helped them with. It was hard to say goodbye to all of them. And A_____ (the one that's active but can't be baptized yet, so active but not active) and her two inactive daugthers and the rest of their active kids came to church like I said. And then on Thursday I went to the meeting with Bishop to say goodbye, took pictures, and they showed up--A_____ and the two oldest daughters, and had bought me ice cream, and a watch! Way surprising, but they told me they just wanted to say thank you somehow for all the help I gave them. So I was very grateful as well. And then at 10:30 Bishop finally finished his meeting and we went with him to his house (pretty weird, usually a bishop would be pretty upset about being out so late... ). But we went and talked with them and they thanked me as well, made us pizza, and then brought us home. And Friday morning, I was out of there. Super hard to leave.... but I´ll just keep the good memories and try and make some here! I'll send pictures next week, the cyber here doesn't have usb ports that I can see.
 
As for a good memory, for lunch yesterday we went with this guy in his car to his house, and he lives literally at the foot of the mountains, PASSING the huge park and the zoo and the stadium and just up and up and up. Literally the edge of civilization (I told you it's a rich area).  And even though his house is just simple, it's surrounded by mansions, and the land he owns is just priceless. I took pictures. It looks over ALL of the city, it's even higher than Cerro de la Gloria. Really really cool, plus he made us asado, but a real asado. We had pig, steak, chorizo, and guess what else? MORCILLA, or better known as, blood sausage :/  I ate it... I´m not a big fan. I couldn't get the memory from Ecuador out of my head, where I touched it, licked my finger, and just tasted blood. Thankfully there was some onion with the blood! But it was all really good still!! Way cool family. He offered to go with us on a Monday to hike Cerro Arco, the mountain that the elders usually hike. So we´ll try and do that some time! And also, one of the AWESOME things that the member pointed out to us on the way to his house, was a big empty lot, fenced off, just below his house, looking over all of the city. He looked at me and asked me what I thought of the lot. And I remember something Elder Day told me about... it was the land for the Mendoza Temple, whenever they announce it!!!! SOOOO COOOOOL!!! Everyone will flock to it, it's literally like the Bountiful and Draper temple sites, but we´re in Argentina so it stands out more. Or it will. And even crazier, it's right next to a GIANT Catholic school, so hopefully there won't be any crazy things that happen. And it's also across the street from Orange County, Mendoza. It's not really called that, but it's seriously the absolute richest neighborhood I´ve seen in the mission. It looks like the States, and it's all part of our area. Just crazy, huh?? If you want to look up where the member lives, he lives in a part called Challao, it´ll probably come up on a map if you look it up. Anyway, that was all the crazy stuff... before lunch. After lunch, he took us through the huge park, showed me all the cool things to see, gave me a tour bascially, so things I´ve wanted to be doing my entire mission all happened in about 3 hours... just ridiculous. It's still the Mendoza mission, but it's super weird at the same time. Very different. I´ll get used to it soon, hopefully!
 
Updates on the Albardon people, yes we´ve been working with the less active man and his girlfriend, and also his cousin's family. They are both the G_____ families, and we´re trying to help them get active again and those who aren't members to get baptized! I don't know how to ask Elder Southwick, so I might not know until December, and I hope not to get any bad news! :/ As for Maria, I went twice to say goodbye to them, and thankfully none of us got emotional, but I did as I was walking away. I told them that when they go to the temple to get sealed, I want to send them one of those pictures of the temple and their family name, just like you and Dad bought and is now hanging in the living room/hall. I will pay with my own money, but I already told them I will get it for them. I love that family so much, and I missed Maria´s talk on Sunday! But she had already prepared it on Tuesday when we went the first time, so I don't worry at all! Hopefully Fabian could go to church and not have to worry about taking care of the nephew like he has the last month... And the family that Elder Hone and Elder Southwick found have been listening still, but used Mothers Day as an excuse to not come to church. So I'll be asking Elder Southwick about them as well. We met even more of her kids, so there are a lot we were teaching, but we will see. BUT! On Monday night, we had a recorrido with two kids from Campo Afuera that were invited by one of their friends from the Rivadavia Ward, who came ALL the way from there to Albardon to do the recorrido. We put a fecha and taught them a really good lesson. I want to find out if they came to church!!! But it will all have to wait.
Thank you for the pictures! And yes, Karla is one of the members of the ward in Albardon. She will soon be the second missionary serving from the Albardon Ward! Both in Brasil, crazy huh?
 
I´m glad your trip to Seattle turned out well! I loved Seattle when we went. And next time you see Kali and Rob, tell them I say hi as well!  I can't believe Nathan is learning ukulele now, that's so weird... but cool too! He can play with Elder Southwick then haha, although I dont know how good Elder Southwick played ukelele, he was mostly guitar.
 
So being the new district leader here, I have A LOT of things to take care of and fix... thank you Dad and Mom both for sharing your thoughts about testimonies and the Spirit. I have always been really hard on myself, and so when I say that I feel much more secure spiritually now than before the mission, I still have little voices doubting, but I just ignore them. If there is anything I´ve received during the mission, it's been the help to re-align my testimony to be vertical and not horizontal. I still have a lot to do! But I don't care, at least I am willing to do it and keep moving forward! It's hard because one of the elders in my district just does whatever he wants. He´s been watching youtube videos this entire time in cyber, and it's on the main computer so the sound is really loud, and it's really distracting.  As a leader I have to help him correct it, but sadly I think he started out like that, so the roots are deeper than they should be... I´ll try and help him, but if that's any sign at all, I´m definitely not being the normal teenager I was before the mission. The mission is too sacred for me to be doing all the things I did before, like he´s doing now. It honestly just makes me really sad that someone would waste such an amazing opportunity... :/  I´ll get on that soon. It's not just here at the cyber, it's every day... so I'll try and fix things. It's a lot of responsibility. I have felt overwhelmed since I got here last week. But, it doesn't matter!  I hoped to never see that kind of attitude in a member of the Church or a missionary (even though I KNOW that no member is perfect, nor ever will be).  It's very sad to think that not all have super strong testimonies. But oh well!
 
We have to go now, but I will let you know how things go this next week! And I'll send pictures. We´re going to play soccer now, thank goodness! It's been so long!!! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Until next time,
 
 
Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, October 21, 2013

Transfers?

Three mission calls

I´m sorry dad is feeling sick! I´ve felt good for quite awhile now, probably because the heat down here just fries any type of disease or bug that exists! It's getting so hot! And I just barely got my clean short sleeve shirts back yesterday, so I´ve been cooking in my long sleeve shirts for a week or so. Not fun.
Oh sorry, hola todos!
 
So I´m just going to start by saying, we don't have transfers yet! And we won't have them until tomorrow afternoon or night, but either way, you won't know where I am at until next Monday! Haha isn't that awesome?  We don't know anything except that Elder Thurgood is the new Assistant replacing Elder McBride! I was always thinking about that possibility, he was pretty shocked. But we don't know anything else. SO! I´ll just let you know next week, sound good? For some reason I´m not nervous this time though. Not sure if it's because I´m staying and I´m happy or I´m going and I´ve been here long enough and worked hard. Guess we´ll find out!

That sounds like a really cool mini reunion that Grandma and Grandpa had! In Madrid, or all places! Yes when we went there Kelly and her mom and I--and a couple of the Baldridges came with us--we went to the temple, and took pictures all over the place there. I remember wondering how it would be to be in that MTC. I wonder if Elder Judd and Elder Daines from the MTC enjoyed their 6 weeks in the MTC with all Spanish! I would've been scared out of my mind.
 
Wow the varsity is going to State, huh? Playing against a team from Preston! That's way cool, Elder Reynolds in our zone is from Preston, and now Elder Squires is living there too. But go Mountain Home! 
 
That soccer team party sounds like a blast, wish I could´ve been there! (Not really, I´d much rather be here!) But mostly the pizza part makes me want to have been there. I miss real pizza. And soccer. But that can all wait, there´s no rush!  I think that's hilarious that Oscar can tell us apart and not Jared and Josh. Do they look a lot alike now? I guess they´ve probably grown quite a bit. Keep me updated about State!
 
Whoa, so does that mean Drew is going to be in The District 3??? Haha probably not, but that means he´d better do his best constantly, and how crazy is it that Eric was his greeter? Way crazy. They both look a lot older with the nametag!
 
So this last week I did another baptismal interview for a man names S_____. He´s only 22, barely older than me, but he is so cool. He got baptized Saturday and is already helping his mom get baptized too. And his friends and some more family members. Just like what we want everytime! We´re still trying to get the familia Muñoz on that boat, helping their family members. We´ll get it eventually. But Valentín gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and it was VERY impressive. He was talking with such confidence and the spirit was even stronger right when he started talking, and even though he´s been a member for 2 months, he gave one of the best, most simple talks I´ve heard in my whole life. So that's one down for him, one for Lucila, and now María has been assigned to speak next Sunday! Don't know if I´ll be here, but I know she´ll do awesome too.  I love that family so much.
 
So this week we worked a lot with some less active families, and we got one of them to come back to church. He brought his girlfriend with him, who seems very interested in the church, whether by curiosity or because she realizes that it can help her boyfriend change some things in his life, which I´m sure she would love, to be a better example for their son. So that was a really good achievement, and now we´re just going to help them learn more and keep coming! I´ve noticed that when people go inactive, they always have SOOO many questions, but since they never got answered, maybe they distanced themselves from the church, and now they´re all surfacing again, so we´re doing our best to answer them. But if we can help the son and his girlfriend, then through them we can better help the other members of the family of the son. It's a big family... imagine if they all came to church! 
 
And the family that Elder Hone and Elder Southwick found is doing well. They have trouble reading, since their house is a crazy house with so many little kids running around, but we keep meeting more members of the family, and they all love listening to us, so this week we are going to try and do a church tour and get them to church next Sunday! They want to make changes in their life, but until they come to church and read and pray, they won't know how to change, so we´re helping them with that. But the good thing is that they all want to listen to us! They just couldnt come yesterday, since yesterday was Mother´s Day down here, EVERYONE used that excuse for whatever thing, it was kind of annoying. But Happy Argentine Mother´s Day Mom! And all you other moms! And also happy birthday Kenzie and Blake!
 
Well I feel like I don't have much information to tell you about, since we don't know transfers yet. But I´ll let you know next week! We´re going to go and do something fun for our last p-day with all of us together, so I will talk to you all next week! I love you Mom and Dad! And Nathan and Kate! 
 
And thanks a bunch for the pictures! It's good to see Justin and Karissa and the kids again, it's been a long time!  And little Ava too!

Elder Tyson Gibbons

PS--The picture is of Elder Southwick, Karla, and me. Karla got her mission call last Friday and is going to the Sao Paulo, Brasil mission! She´s super excited and wanted us to take a picture with our three mission calls! Classic picture, an old elder (me D:) a new elder (Elder Southwick) and a soon to be hermana!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Transfers?


 
Hey Mom! 
 
So this last week has been the best week of this transfer by far! We had a really good week. The zone meeting turned out really good, and we talked about it yesterday in the leader meeting that we´re pretty sure everyone has taken to heart what we taught and shared, because EVERYONE had a really good week this last week. One of the areas, Rivadavia, had eleven investigators show up to church! That's just unheard of! But we´re pretty sure it has something to do with the meeting. My part turned out well, and so did all the other ones, so all in all it was a very spiritual meeting! 
 
As for riding the spiritual wave after conference, yes I think that also made a big difference in our week! And we got a lot of the people that came to conference to come to church yesterday too! Yesterday was a really good Sunday basically. It started out almost exactly like the missionary work-Sunday when everyone showed up late?? It was five minutes till 10 and there were like three families there. I was starting to get a little worried, but I didn't let myself get too worried. I had to bless the sacrament and I was just sitting up there wondering why no one that we had invited had shown up, and during the sacrament hymn, Elder Southwick who was passing with Valentín, whispered, "ELDER GIBBONS" and when I looked at him he just had the biggest smile on his face, and I looked back into the far benches, and the ENTIRE familia Chavez had shown up: the mom who always comes, with the three youngest daughters who always come, but also with Juan, Arantxa, and Mayra. So that put a smile on my face. And then after the sacrament, Bishop gave his testimony, and another hermano did, and then no one stood up. and I was feeling that normal feeling like "You should go up. Do it." And I resisted a little longer, and then I got up. And right as I got up, another less active family showed up and sat in the back, and so I was super happy, and then I started bearing my testimony and I just told everyone how much I really did love them and was thankful for having met them, and I started talking about not getting discouraged, because that same Sunday there were a few people there that I thought just wouldn't ever come, and there they were (I´m pretty sure they knew who I was talking about) and then I got a little emotional because right when I was talking about that, two more inactive families walked in the door, sat down, and just looked up at me, and the feeling I had is impossible to describe, it was like God was telling me, through all those people, "Look, you haven´t been working so hard for nothing, look at the changes you´ve helped make." And so I just lost it, couldn't speak for a little bit, and then finished and sat down. But it's super crazy... if I hadn't followed that feeling to go up there when I did, that timing wouldn't have been so perfect, and I definitely wouldn't have felt the same reassurance as I did. SO, lesson learned, FOLLOW THE SPIRIT!  Sometimes I think God has the best, most simple gifts planned for all of us, if we just keep pushing forward and never give up. I think that's one major truth I´ve learned here in Albardón. 
 
So the testimony meeting was really good, even more so because there were a few people that haven't come for a good while and that were there, but one of them stood up and bore her testimony, which I think was rekindled on Friday when we did a ward activity. Remember how we´ve never been able to do recorridos or church tours so far? So we planned a ward activity where we just did a recorride with every family that showed up, and it turned out GREAT! They all LOVED IT! And the Spirit was super strong. But this hermana came to the activity, she´s a less active sister of the ward mission leader, and she didn't stop thanking us the whole time, and then she got up in sacrament meeting and thanked us a few more times, and talked about how that activity reminded her of how good she feels being in the church and made her feel at home. She participated A LOT in the Gospel Principles class and basically we got some more attendances from here on out. Which is good! We still need them. Yesterday we had about 60 people, which is so much better than when I first got here. We´re making it to the goal!!

So, as for seeing THAT goal be acheived, I´m not sure if I will be here to see it! This is the last week in the transfer, and I´m honestly not sure at all if I will stay or go. I´m 50/50 right now. Yes Elder Southwick is new, and I feel like I need a lot more time to help him, and I told President that, but then I think about Elder McBride who also trained his 4th transfer, he trained Elder Chipman one transfer and then left. But he left and went up as district leader, and I´m already district leader, so that's another 50/50 reasoning. So I just don't know... I´ll be letting you know tomorrow! But I told everyone in sacrament meeting that it's possible my last testimony bearing opportunity in sacrament meeting, and then everyone was asking me where I was going, when, why, all those questions, and I just told them, well I dunno. Haha but we will see...we talked about it in the leader meeting yesterday too, Elder Thurgood for sure is leaving, Elder Pyne is for sure leaving, Elder Gonzalez is leaving, Elder Rojas is leaving, Elder Varney & Reynolds are in bascially the same situation as me, so we don't know, and Elder Nazareno is leaving. Just about half the zone! Elder Reynolds, Elder Varney and I are the only three oddballs that we aren´t sure about yet.
 
So on Saturday we went to Bishop´s house for lunch, and we got surprised by an asado! So that makes six I think in my whole mission, and this one was in the oven not the parilla, so it still only half counts I think. But it was SUPER good, I ate more than everyone else. I felt pretty crappy after haha, but imagine the flank steak that you make, Mom and Dad, and then take one piece and multiply it by 10, and that was the size of the pieces we ate. And I ate three of them. Haha I was pretty hungry. And then afterwards we went and I met the family that Elder Southwick and Elder Hone met and taught on Thursday when we did intercambios (oh yeah, I'll talk about that in just a second) and we met another one of the daughters and put fechas or baptismal dates with the mom and three daughters! They are a way cool family. The mom wants to change her life so she´s really receptive. They didn't come to church but they told us next week is super possible, so we´re just going to commit them good this week.
 
So we did intercambios with the zone leaders Thursday and Friday. I went to Retiro to work with Elder Thurgood, and we had a really really good day. We saw miracles Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. That always happens, intercambios are just full of miracles. So with Elder Thurgood we visited some of their investigators, put four fechas and met this really cool family that accepted us really well. We also bought empanadas for lunch Friday and they were WAY good. 
 
But we had a really successful day, and I got to know Elder Thurgood more, and I really learned A LOT from him, plus he helped me get excited about the work, not that I was getting complacent or anything, but he boosted my excitement even more, there´s no doubt as to why he is a leader right now. He´ll be at UVU when I get back, and I guess a lot of other elders will be too, so I´m definitely going to hang out with them a few times, reminisce good memories from the mission! But before that, I have 7 more months to MAKE those memories, thank goodness!!!
 
So yesterday we ate a lot of empanadas again, and I dont think it settled well with me. I think a few of them weren't fully cooked or the meat wasn't at least, so this morning was a painful, long morning. But I feel fine now! Except it's really hot in this cyber and they aren't turning the fans on. But oh well, those are just mission experiences I guess! Oh and before I forget, I´ve been telling the other elders about the "Ogaard slip," that lovely uplifting conversation we had with Dad and the Ogaards before heading off to BYU. They were talking about them in the mission. But they all get a kick out of/are completely disgusted thinking about it. Thankfully that has NEVER happened to any of us, probably because we don't have bikes. Phew. 
 
So I am on lds.org and looking at the Conference highlights, it's way cool!!! They have the quote from the actual talk in video, then they have it written, and then they have a cool little uplifting poster thing for each of the talks as well. It's super cool! I would definitely buy some of those and put them up on my wall or in my house, that is, when I have my own house....  But they are really powerful, go look them up! I got the same conference feeling inside just reading those short quotes, but it goes to show how powerful the Apostles' and Prophet´s words are for us. I think a few of my favorites are from President Monson´s talk in the opening session Saturday morning, Elder Ballard, President Uchtdorf´s from Priesthood session, President Eyring´s from the Sunday morning session, and Elder Scott´s from Sunday. Look them up, the quotes are really cool! And the picture poster things too. 
 
Anyway, this is the last week of the transfer, and we´re going to make sure we go out with a bang, figuritively speaking. It's going to be an awesome week! We have many people to teach and this ward needs as many as it can get!
 
I love you all, and I hope all your endeavors continue being fruitful and successful, and that you all find the happiness you are looking for!
 
If there are any little words of wisdom I can leave with you all, it would be to persevere, even when you don't see the results you are hoping for, because eventually, as He always does, God will give you your reward, and it will ALWAYS make up for the seemingly fruitless and pointless efforts. I know it is true, that's honestly been my entire life. The things of most value in this life NEVER come without heartache, sacrifice, and perseverence.  

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conference!

 
Hey Mom!

So, this isn't going to be super long I don't think, but it was a very good week! Our focus kind of shifted from finding new people and teaching and everything to visiting A LOT of less active people and getting them to General Conference. Maybe we as missionaries can't get people to come back to chruch or feel the Spirit super strongly, but I think that's a good job for the Prophet and Apostles! Haha, but in all seriousness, things turned out super well yesterday.
 
So Saturday we had lunch with the family that usually gives us food on Sundays, and that made us late to the first session, so we missed the first half, and got there for the last 5 minutes of Elder Bednar´s talk. I was  a little disappointed. but it all turned out well afterward! We had the gringo room again, but a lot more elders this time. In Maipu there were only three of us. But here we were nine I think. And getting there last always left me the crappy corner spot where there was a glare on the TV the whole entire time. But it's alright, it helped me realize that it doesn't matter if I see or not, I just need to be able to hear! So Saturday was really good, just a really late night with the priesthood session starting at 9 at night, but thankfully the bishop brought us home afterwards! And then Sunday, we had a rented bus just like for Stake Conference to bring everyone who needed a ride, and that was where things got crazy.
 
SO! During the week we spent a lot of time, like I said, visiting less active families, and committing them to come to Conference. So as missionaries down here we're allowed 200 texts a month, and I´m pretty sure I used about 40 of those just yesterday, communicating with the bishop and families we couldn't walk with since we went to Campo Afuera. So first of all, we woke up, and I just felt dead. I felt like maybe I was getting pnemonia like Elder Rogers did because I had no energy, was coughing (but only a little bit, he was coughing really bad) and I was stuffed up and congested and just tired. So I took a nap because that's what Elder Ence (mission nurse) told Elder Rogers to do when that happened. So then I woke up, we got ready and left. We got to Campo Afuera on a completely different bus route (there was a crash and the road was closed, another one of the hectic conversations trying to communicate with the bishop and the bus driver) and we went to the familia Muñoz first, and they were still just finishing getting ready, so we told them that the other family was already at the corner waiting, and they all showed up by themselves. Then we went by another family of investigators who said they would try to come, and we show up and they tell us they aren´t going to go, they have things to do. And then we go by the less active part member family that promised us they would come, and they were outside with other family members drinking and smoking.... so that didn't give me much hope. Thankfully I wasn't let down too much though! Elder Southwick was a little more let down, he had made them promise us, and for him, his word means everything. You give your word to someone, and if you don't fulfill, it's already almost impossible to trust them. So, he was pretty upset, and now we´re worried that this guy really does lie a lot, since his girlfriend/wife always rolls her eyes and tells us he´s not telling the truth. The frustrations of missionaries!!! So they said they were going to come alone late, which sadly but truly usually means they aren't coming. So they didn't come either! But we went to the familia Subieri, the family we´ve helped activate so far, and they helped us bring their family members that live next door, the familia Marinero, and then the mom of another less active fmaily came, and then the mom and a few grandkids and one of her kids all came too! And the bishop was VERY happy, but so were Elder Southwick and I.
 
We were sweating and making calls and trying to get people to hurry up (the people who were making the bus wait) AND ironically slow down (the bishop and the bus driver who called us, told us to walk to the bus, and then started driving away right as we started walking...?) but all turned out well in the end! We had more less active families with us than we did active! Which I think is just absolutely awesome! Our goal of 100 in attendance seems so much more achievable now, and I think the members and the bishop realized that. It was funny, the first words the bishop told me Sunday morning when we finally got on the bus were "Oh elder you have been driving me crazy this whole morning!" But it's kind of hard to round everyone up, then walk fast with a bunch of younger kids and moms in high heels. But obviously we got to Conference and those stressful feelings went away REALLY fast!
 
So after the first session, everyone started getting out their food they had packed, and we hadn't brought anything because the family we usually eat with on Sunday told us they had brought food for us, but then EVERYONE just started offering us food, even people from other wards that I went and talked to. It was pretty cool, but I felt like a manipulator a little bit, like the people thought we just wanted food instead of talking to them. It wasn't true!  But I had some delicious empanadas, pizza, sandwiches, and a couple fruits! I also taught Valentín how to tie a tie, and now he´s super excited about it, and his dad was pretty impressed. María told me that she had something to tell me about the first session, and I asked what, and she said, well can you guess what it is? And I said, well I bet all those scriptures they mentioned were ones you have read! And she just smiled and started laughing and I was just speechless. A normal Sunday makes sense, there are a few scritpures mentioned, but CONFERENCE?? With scriptures being quoted right and left, she recognized all of them! That woman has a gift. But they LOVED Conference! Honestly, the part that made my day was when I tried to take pictures with Valentin, and Fabian came back and told Valentin to hurry up so they could get seats up front! :) How could you not feel good after hearing that?? Other than that, I ate a lot of junk food, got pickpocketed by a kid from a different ward (he stole a sheet of stickers than Scott and Jennifer sent me) and then he wouldn't stop interrupting us in the gringo room. But everything else was AWESOME! :) 
 
On the way home I met more people that had shown up by themselves but are less actives from our ward, and then we were the last ones on the bus, so we cleaned and said goodbye to everyone as they got off, and it all went really well!
 
So, to go a little more in depth with Conference, I will share a few things I really liked! 

I really liked Gifford Nielson´s talk, he was very motivational, and I liked his remarks about the exclamation point so often! After his talk we all just looked at each other and were surely all thinking, " Whoa. That was awesome." And then I really liked Elder Ballard´s talk about member missionary work, I loved how a lot of Conference was concentrated on missionary work, especially after that broadcast in June. I loved Elder Scott´s talk, and I really liked how he mentioned that there is a difference between weaknesses and rebellion, and now tomorrow I have to speak about something along the lines of that in zone meeting, so I´m going to use some of his comments! I loved the talk from Elder Nelson as well as Terence Vinson-- he told us how the Lord can bless us SO much more when He can TRUST us, and that has a lot to do with me right now, so it stuck out to me a lot. But they were ALL really good talks. I will read the ones I missed next week once they are online, and that way I can learn everything I needed to know!

And Mom, about Elder Holland´s talk, I was thinking about Uncle Dave as well, with his physical infirmities, and it struck me very hard and strongly. It was one of the most spiritual moments of this General Conference. I miss him a lot too. 
 
I can't even really think of anything else to talk about. It's just been a blur of a week, and Conference went by WAY too fast... I only have one more Conference in the mission! :(  I can't believe that! But today is just the start of a new week, and it will be a good week too. Zone meeting is always motivational, and hopefully my part turns out well. And then we have the rest of the week to work hard! No distractions this week!

Oh and Dad, Elder Southwick had to go to Mendoza alone to get his visa papers done, just like Elder Day and I went to Mendoza last fall. It was a big surprise but it all turned out well.
 
Today I think we might just hang out with Elder Hone and Elder Thurgood, since Elder Pyne and Elder Torres had to go to Mendoza this morning. I don't really know why, neither did they. But it will be a good Monday for sure! I hope your week turns out well as you start doing all the awesome new stuff the prophets and apostles and leaders have taught us this weekend! I know you´ll all see little miracles as you do it, and I plan on doing it all as fast as I can, because this ward still needs some miracles!
 
One last thought that I really, really liked from President Monson, and I hope you think about it before every decision, whether big or small, that comes during this week, " Will I falter, or will I finish?" I plan on finishing, as the Savior did with his earthly mission, and is with His eternal mission now! We have a lot of work to do, and we frankly just can´t afford to falter anymore. The world already has faltered and gone away from a lot of truths and doctrines, and I don't want to add to it, that's for sure. I´m sure none of you do either! So keep up the good work, keep being examples! There is always someone to help.
 
Elder Tyson Gibbons
 
PS--The photo is our Star Wars picture, thanks to Elder Southwick´s special effects knowledge.   Oh yeah, I forgot that question Dad. Elder Southwick is a musical genius because he plays guitar, piano, harmonica, violin, cello, drums, and a few others instruments with strings, and plus he sings really well. He had his own band before leaving on the mission, so that's pretty cool too.