Monday, January 28, 2013

Hello madre y padre, y todos!

Hello madre y padre, y todos!

I haven´t said hello in a long time so I figured I would do it today! :) I´m glad to hear you made it safely home, and plenty satisfied with adventure, sun, swimming, and vacation! And I still have to say that the 32 degrees F or the 0 degrees C still calls my attention; I have told everyone here that I like the winter better, and that I am dying here! I calculated it out, and I'm going to have a year of summer, on top of this year that I am going to complete in May of one summer too! So two years of summer with a short quick brief Argentine winter in between. Maybe I am supposed to learn something from that?? Any ideas? Haha
So, this weekend none of our investigatores made it to their date, it was a bummer :/ but we still had two baptisms, of ward members' children! And Bishop asked us to prepare everything so again Saturday was spent filling the font and preparing the chapel for the baptism. But the baptism service was very spiritual, even if I had to give the talk on baptism with 2 minutes notice! (A little embarrassing, so I am going to go back and write out my simple lesson plans for things like that again.) It didn't end up being a bad talk, but it wasn't very organized obviously. But it's okay, the two kids being baptized had the attention span of about 1 minute anyway. Haha and so it goes, no? But, this week we have lots of teaching to do, because we have more investigators with fechas for this weekend, even though it's going to be Febrero (easier to spell than.. .however it's spelled in English) but we completed our goal as a zone for 5 baptisms this month!!!! So we are all very happy. :) We have worked hard, that's for sure. Dad, I don't know what's so different about Maipu and San Luis, but I think it has a lot to do with attitude no mas. When I arrived here, my zone leader Elder Schirner, who talked to me before Elder Galicia, told me first thing that my area "was the bomb, the members are so ready to work, there are 70 people assisting every week, and there are investigators that have progressed so much" and since that day, I have been excited to work here! In Justo Daract, all I ever heard there from everyone we talked to basically was that the people were hard-hearted and didn't want anything to do with religion, or the Mormons, didn't want to listen, the less actives were iniquitous, and things were just plain difficult. So, I think that really made the difference! That's the example I am going to follow everytime I get a new companion or a new area. Because really that makes ALL the difference!

So on Friday, we found G___ again, after two weeks, and had a really good lesson. I had an impression during weekly planning to read 3 nephi 11 with her about baptism and the doctrine of Christ, and so Elder Galicia left me to do the talking and starting of the lesson. So at first I started shaky, but I noticed that I wasn't even thinking after a few minutes. I was so focused on her and what she was saying. I was truly listening with the Spirit, which Elder Holland pleads with us to do as missionaries in Preach My Gospel, and I know that the impression came from the Spirit, because the things I talked about were the doctrine of Christ, and she stopped me and asked "What does doctrine mean? I've had that question since the missionaries started coming, but I couldn't remember it until now" and so I explained that and thanks to nothing but the Spirit, and Brother Sell, I remembered that my last year in seminary we wrote in our scriptures on the title page that doctrine was unchanging truth, and so I explained that to her, and she understood very well. And that just strengthened my testimony that following the Spirit is the ONLY WAY. I would never have remembered any of that if the Spirit hadn't been present in that lesson. It wasn't me speaking, or promising blessings, or inviting her to set another baptism date even though she is scared to have the interview still after the last time (basically the last time the zone leader who did the interview was really rough, and she hadn't known who Thomas S. Monson was, so she didn't pass the interview, and now she feels she needs to know everything before saying yes), but I promised her exactly what it says in verse 39, but specifically with different things in her life, even though I didn't really know her. This is the second time I have taught her and spoken with her. So really, my testimony is that much stronger of the Spirit leading the missionaries! I have been out 8 months, but I have to say that lesson was the first Preach My Gospel-influenced lesson I have ever had. So I have an example to follow now. So yeah, that was my great experience this last week! Having the Spirit really is a priceless gift, whether we are in school, work, serving a mission, or just being a normal human being going through the trials of life. And that means we have to do a few things to be worthy of that spirit. Are you reading the scriptures? Are you praying? Are you going to church? Are you developing Christ-like attributes and being a true Christian? Just food for thought.
Mom I am glad you mentioned memories, because I was reading in the Liahona from November of 2007, the conference talks, and sadly only a few seemed familiar to me (I've changed! Don't judge me :D) but there was one where I read the following sentence, "Memories are the gift from God that allows us to have June roses in the midst of December's winter." I LOVE that! Because it fits exactly what I have felt the last 8 months. My memories have kept me going every night, and during the hard times of the day, or at critical moments. I am eternally grateful for you, my family, and all the memories we have, whether in the home or out and about traveling; these moments truly have changed my life. And also to my friends, for the times we have spent together playing soccer, going to the movies, the mall, the park, dates (sorry-against mission policy to think about those things; forgive me :P ) or movie nights at whoever´s house. These things seriously have kept me going for months and months, and will keep me going for the rest of my life! If you don't have any memories to be considered June roses in the middle of December´s winter, then I encourage you with all my heart to make them! Beacuse they literally can be the decision maker in a vital situation in life; they remind you that life really is happy, no matter what situation we face, and that there is always, ALWAYS, hope for the future. I don't mind if you could only think of that much Mom, but look what it did for me! So don't worry, it was enough. :)
As January closes for this year, I've been thinking about how I have done with my goals, because if I can't achieve my goals for a month, it will be impossible for a year! How are you doing with yours? The end of January doesn't mean we are finished. It's the end of the beginning! Keep pushing forward! :) We still have 11 more months of this year, and then another new year to keep it going ;) A goal to change for the better isn't meant to last a year, it's meant to last a life time, and we will only achieve that if we perservere! Remember, it's been said that 40 days of the hardest effort to keep your goals is all that is needed to make those practices become habit. We have 28 days up to today, so keep going :)
Dad you asked about Elder Galicia leaving, and we are both pretty sure that yes he will leave. Which means that since the district leader can't be in Bombal, and there are Hermanas in the other area, that my companion who comes will be district leader, and I'll have to travel to Gutierrez every Sunday still and do all the same stuff. So not much will change! And I will be fine with that. :) Helps me to stay focused in the work and the people that we have and will have when that time comes. And no I can't listen to the speeches with him. He knows a bit of English, but when I listen to them he always turns on some music since he doesn't understand, and I wish I could downlad them in Spanish!! They are such great talks, and it's something I thoroughly enjoyed with Elder Day, listing to talks during the night and discussing them for hours later on. Oh well, such is the luck for this transfer! And I will send Jalen something next week so he feels comforted. I know how it is to be somewhere a long time and leave! But he has always been better than me, so I think he can handle it haha. But we will see if he leaves, some elders stay for 5 transfers! ;) Guess we will see no?
Well that is basically my week, we have done more walking, more teaching, and more sweating, and it's all worth it! In the binder they gave us when we got here to Mendoza, there is a talk given by Elder Ballard to some missionaries in Peru, and he said that attitude is everything. "When you and your companion wake up to snow covered streets, you turn to your companion and say, 'This is great! Today Elder we get to be persecuted and rejected for the Lord in the freezing snow!'" How great is that attitude? I've tried hard to adopt that, just in the opposite unfortunately :P but I have that thought every day as we head out, and I can't complain anyway because the weather has been rather mild these last weeks. It's been a miracle! I have no problem. One day was really hot, and Elder Galicia told some people that he was dying of heat, but I thought back, and I didn't even notice. It didn't bother me one bit. That's the blessing of truly forgetting yourself, I would say.
Well I want to download a few talks and get going, so I will end this here for this week! I'm glad to hear all is well, and also about Marcel´s call and Christina sending her papers in! I don't know where she would go, but I like the Segovia, Spain guess haha :) or also Mexico. Those are my guesses. Make sure to let me know when it comes!
I love each and every one of you, and hope this week is FANTASTIC, despite any hardships that come! Keep working hard in work, school, at home, or whatever you are doing that is wholesome and good, and you will be surprised at the help and blessings you receive! The Lord is full of surprises, don't hesitate to try your best to deserve one this week ;) I am so grateful to be here, doing the work of the Lord. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, and that we have a prophet today just as in times of old, and I know they have the same mantle of power as did Adam, and Moses, and Noah, and Elijah, and most of all Jesus Christ. I know that this gospel is lead by Him, Jesus Christ, and that it is the only way to really have true happiness. So if anyone is searching for just that, ask the missionaries, they can help you! :)
Until next week, your faithful son and friend,

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, January 21, 2013

Buenas tardes todos!

Buenas tardes todos!

I can´t believe I´m sitting here in cyber again. These days just go by so fast. and the weeks too. And the transfers, we are already in week 4! What the heck. But, things are going very good here. We have had somewhat cooler weather the last three or four days, and I have been able to sleep quite well, but waking up has been hard for some reason. probably because I haven´t slept so well in so long, so now that I am sleeping well, my body doesn't want to end it! But oh well, there are people to visit and places to walk to all the time, so too bad for sleep haha. About finding a fan, no I haven´t´found one. Well that's not true, today we were cleaning, and in the "broken pile" I decided to try some electrical things, and I found a fan that works just great! And it's a mini-er one, the only probelm with it is that it doesn´t sustain its position by itself, the hinges are broken. But that's not a problem at all!  So, I will be using that from now on. And I didn´t even have to spend any money!
Alright, while we are on the topic of money, let me tell you now that I haven´t been able to use my debit card at all. It's not something that they use often here and it hasn´t worked at any of the stores I have gone to apart from Carrefour to buy food and things, so.. today when I used some of my Christmas money to buy a pendrive for Mormon Messages and plenty of talks from BYU speeches, I had to use your card, mom and dad. The pendrive was 129. And then I bought speakers as well since I haven´t had anything to listen to my ipod with for a month now, and these speakers have a slot for usb, pendrive, sd card, and everything else. So, I bought those too to carry around with me. Those were 189.90. So that is the amount I spent, and with the dollar being 1 dollar to 4.95 pesos, you will have to figure out the amount and take it out of my chase account and just add it to your own. Sorry I keep using your card, but it looks like the only place I will be able to use my debit card for sure will be Carrefour haha sorry. :/
Anyway, so, this week is looking up a lot! We have at least 4 people committed to being baptized this weekend, and we have found a few more this last weekend for this weekend too, so wow this weekend is going to be really good, and we are going to be working and working and walking and sweatiung and teaching to make sure that doesn't change! :) Yesterday at church we had a lesson in Principles of the Gospel about Jesus Christ as our chosen leader and Savior. I loved that lesson, even if the two abuelos (grandparents) G___ are the teachers and spend most of the class arguing and teaching towards one another instead of the investigators haha. Yeah have I mentioned the abuelos before? They are quite something. But it was a very good feeling to participate in... oh wait, I didn´t even mention Saturday.
So Saturday, we had a baptism! :D   J___, the kid I told you about a couple weeks ago, or last week actually, was baptized this last Saturday. We went to the church in the morning again to fill up the pileta (baptismal font) since it was another one like Justo Daract, and we got it going, set up the chairs for the service, and then went to eat lunch, came back three and a half hours later, and the font was filled about 1/4 of the way full. It gave us a heart attack! Haha and we only had cold water too, which we didn´t think would be a problem. It was rainy all day, so yes at first we thought it was a problem, but once we started sweating and working hard carrying bucketful after bucketful to speed up the filling, of course the sun came out full blast and just cooked us. It was nice though because the cold water would feel very refreshing, plus the sun would heat it up a little. But, at the hour we were planning to start, I called Jairo and his cousin and his grandma to ask where they were, and they hadn´t left yet, and if you remember I described where they live, in the middle of the middle of nowhere, so we drove over there in the auto of the family Gutierrez., and brought them, and then started. So J___ had wanted his uncle C___, a 21-yr-old who sent his papers in two years ago but is still waiting, to baptize him. But at the last minute he couldn´t come for some reason, so.... I did it. I was not expecting it at all. But I can´t tell you how nervous I was!!! I have thought about this moment for YEARS, and then it came and I realized I wasn´t prepared. I didn´t even know the prayer for the baptism! Hahaha man I was so nervous. But, once I got in the pileta and the chills stopped bugging me (the sun went away once we finished filling the pileta with buckets.. weird huh) and then things just seemed to calm down, and slow down, and I had no problem at all. it was like those scenes you see in movies when things just clear up, and slow down, and everything is focused. I felt like I was in a movie! The only thing that I feel bad about is that the water was so cold that when I put him under the water the cold water shocked him so bad he lost his footing and couldn´t stand back up. :/ we felt really bad. But, he dried off and was just fine. And then as I was going to say in the previous paragraph, I got to participate in his confirmation. He already seems like he has such great potential in the church, in the priesthood, and in life in general. He is really humble and was definitely prepared to enter this path. And yes I will attach the few pictures I have. In the one with his family he looks mad but he is just very quiet and doesn´t talk a lot.
Anyway, that made our week just great! I don´t even remember anything bad that happened during the week. Oh wait, that's a lie. I got sick for the first itme in my mission. Thankfully I know it was from something I ate, and it was gone 24 hours later, but let me tell you, that 24 hours was terrible. Haha and we did intercambios with the elders in the other area, so I had to walk all over our area showing the other elder everything, while feeling like I was going to puke again, or pass out, or both in succession. Haha but, I feel just fine now! But that was just a day to show me that yes, we all have down days, but once we get over those it's all looking uphill after, so I have no reservations or regrets! What happened happened and I can definitely HOPE I don´t get sick again like that, but that's just life, isn´t it?
Anyway, my feet are holding up just fine. Even better actually. It's my shoes that are taking the beating! Haha my Men´s Wearhouse shoes are... well they are definitely worn in for sure. Worn in in every way possible. But they are actually really comfortable, so I still wear them haha.
Also I haven´t been burnt at all by all the walking, it's a miracle! Well I got burned last Monday playing futbol, but I didn´t realize it until I left the cyber and looked at myself. But it wasn´t nearly as bad as before when we walked to Cordoba, and it's left me with a rather nice bronze look, so I don´t mind! Haha but I have sunscreen and if there is ever a day where I know I'm going to get burned, I will use it, don't worry. But for now, I've been okay!
Yes, we had the tormenta blanca in the hermanas' area last Friday! It went very well. The assistants couldn't come but we got into three housses and talked to some really nice people, with some potential, so we hope the hermanas have a little more to work with now! I really am amazed with these hermanas. If this was my area, I would be still out working, yeah, but I don't think I would be working as diligently. But I know Hermana Dana is dedicated 1000 percent so that definitely helps. And it is really nice having Hermana Alaniz here to give me updates on back home. She told me that A___ moved her baptism date forward to this next weekend and also that they are baptizing a different C___ that I never met, who was baptized and then never showed up for her confirmation! So I was very excited to hear about that. Elder Rogers and Elder Cisneros are still working there, and the Alaniz family and Giordano family are both very happy!

MATT WEBBER IS GOING TO SOUTH KOREA?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? That is the BEST news I have heard in this whole week!!!!!! I don´t know why he has been so hard to get ahold of, but I am really glad that he is going! Hahaha Matt if you read this, I knew you were going over there to Asia. I just knew it. You knew it too, so don´t act surprised or anything :P I´m excited! We´ve got Asia, the US, Mexico, South America, and Europe covered between the 6 of us (meaning the 6 BYU roommates from last year), so that's pretty sweet. April 17, hey that means you will be in the MTC for my birthday! Eat some ice cream and lots of cereal and chocolate milk for me will you? Thanks bro.
Alright so this week I remembered to bring my notebook from all the talks I have listened to. And there are a few things that I really liked (well obviosuly, if I wrote them down in the notebook...) one is from Hugh B. Brown and he is talking about the fact that most of the hundreds of universities and institutions built first in this nation were patroned by a religion. And he is talking about in this part how the Founding Fathers of the United States knew that a nation would not and could not prosper on any other basis than religion and education. Hugh B. Brown adds that religion and education are the two most adequate forces in the world. and he shares a quote from Thomas Jefferson who says that the people" cannot be ignorant and free"--how true is that?? I like the introduction that he gives about the nations being built on other things, like Alexander who built his nation upon power, and it failed. Caesar built his nation upon the law, and it also failed. I would add that none of them built their nation upon GOD. The United States has survived this long because the Founding Fathers KNEW that religion, or the existence of GOD and faith in Him, along with education, were fundamental for any people or nation to survive. And the quote from Thomas Jefferson intrigued me as well. That a man cannot be ignorant and free. It is so true, in the worldly, temporal view, but also in the spiritual. Surely these leaders of our nation were inspired and led by God to perform so great an event as the revolution and independence! A man who is ignorant will follow his path wherever the wind blows him, because he doesn't know better than that. He doesn't take control of his destiny as he could, and therefore, even if he isn´t in slavery or in jail, he is not FREE. But he that is educated, that understands the world and its demands, and also understands how to guide his own destiny, how to be the captain of his own soul, he is in every way, shape and form, FREE. Free to do as he pleases, free to follow this path or that one, but being educated, he has the ability to choose wisely, with the purpose of avoiding any backtracking or pitfalls. The same goes for the spiritual. Obviously a man is not free when he is ignorant as to his divine purpose and plan in this life! If someone doesn't understand the plan of salvation, where we came from, why we are here, and where we go after this life, they are not free. They don't understand their purpose, and therefore are enticed by this thing or that or this temptation, and are led down forbidden paths until there is almost no way to return. Surely no one could daresay that these are free. But on the contrary, he who knows his purpose, he who knows that there is a God, and that He is our Father in Heaven, and that He has a purpose for us and has given us so many different means to achieve it and firstly to understand it and discover it; he that lives his life with the intention of doing good, of helping others, of being Christ-like, he is truly free. He understands that commandments aren't restrictions. They don't steal our freedom. He understands the need for constant nourishment and constant repentance, to continue living in the path to perfection. Surely no one can say that this man isn´t free! Now, how many of us fall under the first category, and how many under the second? Completely, I can't say that any of us are in one of the other 100 % but we can sure try, right? This life is here for us to enjoy in every good way possible, every way that is in harmony with the Savior. This makes me remember one of the motivation talks that the old mission president here gave to all the missionaries. It is mentioned in one of those talks about a baseball pitcher, who was the best of his time, who was Jewish, and he told the managers first thing that he would never pitch or play a game on a Jewish or religious holiday or festival. And the man giving this talk asked this pitcher why he would never do that, and this man said he has his beliefs, and he must live them, because every other aspect of his life, whether it is sports, education, family, economics, etc., DEPENDS on his faith. That is how it should be with us! The Founding Fathers knew that religion and education were necessary and the only true basis for a nation. And notice which one is mentioned first? If we have a faith, we should do EVERYTHING possible for that faith before we focus on other things, because really our faith is what every single other aspect of our lives depends on. If we live our faith, the rest falls in place. It's like what Matthew says in chapter 6, where rather Christ is speaking and says that first we need to seek the kingdom of God, not thinking about what we wil eat, or what we will drink, or where we will sleep, or anything else. Before thinking about our next trip, our next bill, our next exam, our next game... because if we do as Christ asks, what does He promise us? That all the rest "will be added unto you." Why don't we take that promise more seriously sometimes? Let's try and remember that this week. And if anything, hopefully this gave some hope for anyone studying and who needed motivation to keep studying. It's important!!! :) But don't forget about your duty to God as well, or your faith.
Anyway this week is going to be a great week! The weather is still continuing pretty fresh and cooler than normal, so hopefully that will keep up for the next month :D Too much to ask, no? But I am excited for all that will happen this week, for me and for all of you! I hope you continue enjoying where you are at right now in life, or physically, spiritually, and any other way possible! Thank you for all that you all do for me, for your prayers and thoughts that keep me going literally every day. I love you all, and I am so glad to be here doing what I am doing, every day, every minute, for this time I have been given! May we all continue increasing our faith and improving whatever aspect of our lives that we see is needed! And I hope that we can remember the best person to turn to to help with those things in particular :) Prayer is powerful! I can testify of that!
Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, January 14, 2013

Buenas tardes! y felices siestas!!

Buenas tardes! y felices siestas!! (sarcasm)
Hopefully none of you are taking the siesta and sleeping. That would make me upset, just like EVERY person here hahaha. It makes the work mighty hard sometimes. But, really I do hope you have all enjoyed this week! I have certainly had good times and great times and low times, but that is life, no? The one thing that really rubs me the wrong way right now is the heat. I haven´t burned yet, acutally mentiras I got a little burned today, but I don´t even care, because I got to play FUTBOL!!!!!! Finally, it was such a relief. And plus I always love surprising the latinos with my unexpected albeit limited skills. Haha I just like seeing their attitude change during the first 10 minutes. It goes from "this gringo is a pallazo, this will be easy" to "okay I should probably take this a little more seriously, he´s fast" haha. I don't mean to boast, I don't have any talents that I have gained myself, they are all from Heavenly Father, but I do feel a little relieved knowing people have a different perspective about me. I get enough weird looks every day from, well, everyone, it's nice to get some stares in a good uplifting way for a change! (P.S. my team won 14-8! Whoo! I just don't like playing on dirt. But that's just my spoiled American experience saying that.)
So yeah, this week has been full of surprises, plenty of walking, and lots of sun and dirt! But really good lessons and really good lunches too. One of our lunches every week is SOOOOO FAAAAARRRRR, like 2 or 3 miles from the pench, in the midday sun, and I started to think that I was going to cancel this lunch when Elder Galicia leaves, or move it to once a month. Of course I was being selfish thinking that. But just then I found a 2 peso coin (really rare, really cool) in the dirt, and I forgot about all the bad. Funny how things happen sometimes right? Being a conseecrated dedicated servant of the Lord definitely doesn't have any space for me being selfish, so there is always something to take my thoughts off myself. I'm not saying I am a super selfish person in total, I have had my moments that's for sure, but there isn't room for ANY of that right now. So, I will be learning a bit more of that in this area, those are my predictions. Anyone else have predictions for me? Just for jest, I really don't know if any of it will come to pass (wow, I sound like a scripture nerd saying that phrase) haha anyway...
We have right now a good list of progressing investigators, and almost all of them have dates for baptism this weekend or the next, so we will have a busy week this week for sure, making sure things work out smoothly, since it's in these vital moments that Satan likes to throw a wrench in the gears. SO, as players on the other team, we have our work cut out for us. But that's what we do, so it's nothing new! Haha. We have a lot of potential here in our area, which is good because the area of the other elders is rough at times, since it's all campo and they have bikes (I can't wait to do divisions with them, I need a photo on a bike. I won't be a full, true missionary until I have ridden a bike in my shirt, tie, and nametag.) and the area of the 4 hermanas is... soooo hard. It's amazing that they still find people to teach, we spent a day there helping them, and we barely helped at all. This week me and Elder Galicia, the leaders of the zone, and the assistants are going to have a white storm in the area of the hermanas to try and get things going again. The hermanas are amaizng, infintely more spiritual, dedicated, and patient than the elders. It's no coincidence that the Lord lowered the age for guys and girls to serve. The world needs more of the hermanas' spirit! That's for sure. But anwyay, being in our area has its benefits, we have plenty of people, and the ward members are really great helpmeets for us (that word's from the bible, right? It just came into my mind. How peculiar....) so, no complaints there! I just really need something to make me sleep. I haven´t slept an entire night for the last couple weeks, and it's starting to take a toll on me. I wake up constantly every night, sometimes scratching my feet and legs because mosquitos have eaten me up, or sometimes to turn around from the lights of the street, and sometimes to pull my blanket over me, or to take the blanket off and throw it accross the room because it's soo hot. Haha any suggestions? I will look for a little fan today Mom, but I don't know what the price is going to look like. I'll keep that in mind though, I really need to start sleeping well. The pillow I bought helped for a transfer, but it doesn't do anything for the heat. I've heard of elders who shower in their garments then get in bed, to be more cold, but I just don't have the ganas to do that. It doesn't seem all that hygienic really. Anyway, if you have any suggestions, let me know!
Dad looked up the fotos and they showed up green?? I know we are surrounded by vineyards and things, but those are on the outskirts of the area, between most of the neighborhoods is just plain desert. Haha I dunno if those fotos are during fall or spring or something? I haven't seen the green really. :/
Wow that snow day that wasn't a snow day sounds ridiculous. Everyone here always asks if it is snowing where I live, and I explain, yes it's winter, we don't get a ton of snow like the movies (that's where they learn everything... movies. Haha so, I explain a little more realistically) but yes it's nice and cold there. But it looks like the schoool district still hasn't changed! There were a few ugly driving days my last two years, and we didn't get anything haha. Oh well.
So is Jalen´s new companion right from the MTC? Doesn't that mean... he is training? Just want to clear that up.
Anyway, not much else new down here, just more heat every day, and good lessons and good progression, basically my vision of the mission before I left. So, I really can't complain, since I am living my visionary dream mission life right now! :)
Well, we are headed to shopping soon to eat and buy some things for this next week, so I should probably get going! I am sorry I don't have a big huge paragraph or something spiritual that I have learned, but I forgot my little notebook at home with all my great quotes, so it will have to wait until next week! And I even forgot my sd card to put more talks on, so that was a big mistake on my part. Sorry, but just remember that whenever we feel like we have hit the wall, we can't go any further, we can't do any more, we can't give any more, we can't sacrifice any more, we can't go on... it's just like running, you jump that wall and leave it behind you, forgetting about yourself and the pain and the worry and the doubt and the sickness and the jeers of those telling you you can't do it. Anything with that kind of character does not come from our Heavenly Father. So, who do we turn to to overcome that wall? The person who has power over everything, the person that created this world, the plants, the light, the animals, and the most complex being, all of us. Just think about that knowledge, that power, that ability. And then remember that He is our Father, and He knows what is best for us, and He is there to help us get over these walls. but also, something very important, is to remember that He is not always going to take away the wall, but He is always going to give us the strength to climb it, or even go through it. Like He did for the Nephites and the people of Alma and Limhi with the slavery to the Lamanites, in the book of Mosiah. He didn't make their problems lighter, or disappear, even better, he gave them the strength to bear them. It's just like that in life! If He takes our struggles away, we will never be strengthened or learn, and the next time it comes, we are in the same situation. If He strengthens us and we overcome, there isn't going to be another time like that. We will have learned and become strong enough to push forward, and it makes it all the easier for us. Surely He is our Father in Heaven, and surely He knows the best for us! All that is left to do is turn to Him and trust in Him. Hard thing to do at times, but that's only because we don't remember all the great things He has done for us and for our loved ones, throughout all time, since the beginning. We have no reason to fear. If we are on the right side, nothing can overtake us if we are planted at God´s side, and are doing all the things that He asks of us. This church is true, and I am grateful for my ever-progressing personal relationship that I have developed and started with my Heavenly Father. It gives me the courage, the strength, and the will to carry on. So if that is what any of you need right now, well there is the solution. Turn to Him.
I love all of you! Hope this week is full of surprises and full of joy and happiness, even better than the last one! Remember, we are only in the third week of January, we haven't even reached the second month! Keep on going strong with any goals you have. After 40 days trying as hard as you can, those things will become habit basically. It all depends on our efforts ;)

Elder Tyson Gibbons

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hola familia, de Mendoza!

With Elder Rogers in our church/house chapel in Justo

Our district.  Front:  Elder Manjarres, Elder Monzon, Elder Rogers
Back:  Elder Daybell, Elder Ashby, me

Familie Alaniz

With Aida

With Jose, Paola, and Ornela

Our church/house pension in Justo Daract

My shoes after one day of walking in the desert of Rodeo Del Medio,
compared to my just polished shoes on the right

Hola familia, de Mendoza!

It's so great to say that!! I have been in the furthest end of the mission for so long. But, I will say it was hard to leave. Pte Avila told Elder Day that he would leave Justo Daract crying, but I think he really told him that because he knew he would tell me, because I wanted to cry, I just held back the tears as much as possible as I stared out at the sunrise horizon. I will miss that place, I really will. It has shaped my mission, and I am a different person, and I have made really high goals for this year, and I have every intention of completing them. So, basically what happened was that Elder Rogers had to meet the other elders in Villa Mercedes early at 5:30, so he got off the bus when we got there, but I was traveling to Maipu with Yanina, the daughter of Presidente Alaniz, because she is serving a mini mission in Maipu! What are the odds of that?? And what's more, she is in my district. Crazy huh? I guess the Lord knew I would feel more comfortable leaving Justo Daract if He sent someone to remind me haha just kidding. But that was crazy when we found out we were both going to the same place, Hermana Alaniz was super excited! (The mom I mean) Anyway, so it was me and her talking for the majority of the 5 hours to Mendoza. I didn´t sleep at all, so that first day in my new area was rough. But I love it here! It feels like new years was weeks and weeks ago, but it was last week... I can´t believe it. That's how much walking, sweating, teaching, and more sweating I have done these past five days haha :) It is pretty hot here, but drier, so the only thing keeping me cool is my sweat... even at night, I haven't slept very well. I've been waking up at least 7 times every night so far. But, somehow, I have enough energy to go through the day. Haha how's that for a blessing?
So I am with Elder Galicia from Mexico, (Elder Cisneros replaced me in Justo Daract; also from Mexico) and it has been good. He is district leader, so that's something new for me. And one thing that was the biggest surprise, is he is still 18! Yet he has a year and one month on the mission. How did he leave so early? So I am older, but he is further than me in every way haha. He is awesome. He is always smiling, and he´s humorous which helps with investigators. but Dad.... you guessed it. He doesn´t like futbol. He can play, but since he´s latino and not that good, he says he always gets judged by the others because he isn´t good like they are. So, we´ll see how often we play this transfer... we were going to this morning, but we arrived at the church and all the members had flaked out, so, I don't have super high hopes again! Haha oh well. It's okay.
So our pension is pretty interesting. It used to be a bar. So it has a big old island on one side of the giant main room, and then our room is connected at the back. But it's the second piso so it's SO HOT, all the time. I can hardly sleep at night like I said earlier. It starts off really hot, then halfway through the night it gets cold, so I wake up and switch to my blanket, then wake up sweating. Blah. Gotta love the desert huh? So yeah, our area consists of a bunch of different neighborhoods, all spread out SOOO FAR. We literally walk through the desert two or three times a day, to get to another barrio or neighborhood. It is crazy. And we walk a lot more besides that. The first night, we walked about 2 or 3 miles to a member's house to eat dinner. It was super fun, the family is actually part member, and we have plans to be able to baptize the two sons at least this transfer. We actually have plans for about 6 other people already... yeah it's different in different areas huh? That was the biggest shock. We taught 9 other lessons in the first two days here. It was like culture shock, but it wasn't a different culture. Anyway, I am really excited to be here! I wish I could have some of your cold weather though. That would be great. But we keep working hard anyway, and we have already had a lot of success with teaching and setting fechas for baptism this weekend. So we are looking forward to a really good transfer. I really do enjoy the view of the mountains every day, those didn't exist in Justo Daract. They are still pretty far, but since they are so big we can see them just about anywhere. I think there might even be some snow capped peaks...
Today we came to Mendoza and went to the mall, it was really weird being in there. All the stores and the American music, sent me back home for a little bit, then we ate at Burger King (not really any better here... but hey it was a nice homey touch) and talked to a few more elders we found there, along with the four hermanas in our district. And I will get more familiar with Centro here because well every elder in Rodeo del Medio for the past year has been there for 6 months... we will see if that luck touches me as well! Haha but it's really nice to be closer to more missionaries and actualy meet more poeple. When I arrived, I knew NO ONE, so it was really awkward. Anyway, yeah, and then we left Mendoza Shopping (that's the name of the mall, you can look it up) and are now here in cyber, obviously haha, but we have some fun p-days planned for this transfer. Hopefully including some futbol!!!
The members in Justo Daract had a branch meeting the night before I left so I got to say goodbye to all of them. It was nice to spend one last night with them, even if it meant I didn't sleep that night (they just stay up so late...) And we said goodbye to Aida, she was the only other one besides the members. And, she was almost crying. I had no idea I had made such an impression, I felt like I was just the gringo that kept passing by. So that really made it worth it. And we committed her finally to be baptized! She said she would feel ready by the first week in February, so I will be keeping in touch with Elder Rogers to find out. I hope it happens! It was a breakthrough to get her to accept a date for baptism. I don't know if me leaving had anything to do with it, but if it did, well I used it to our advantage I guess! Well not our advantage, really her advantage in the long run, she just doesn't completely understand it yet. haha :)
WHAT??? I can't believe the Merrill family remembered me... I feel like all the people were super nice when I was there, but have undoubtedly forgotten about me since I came and left.. that is so crazy! Well I hope that was a good experience. They got to meet my twin too haha how small a world?
Dang, I didn´t think the pesos would make it through. Shoot, sorry about that haha I had no idea really. But I'm glad things still worked out good!

Kate´s trip sounded pretty exciting! I'm glad she she still had fun, despite everyone being sick.  Hopefully she really did have a little fun and wasn't just saying that! :P No offense Kate. :) Love you.
Okay, I forgot to tell you when we skyped on Christmas but while we were trying to connect to the internet I looked up the Boise Temple and it had pictures from the open house.... HOLY COW. I cannot wait to go there when I get back. It looked beautiful, more elegant, and then I saw the picture of the baptismal font room, the only room I have been in, and it brought tears to my eyes. It looked so... I don't even know the word. It looks amazing! I can't wait to see it when I get back. I have talked to the members in Justo Daract about the temple because they went in December, and it's always funny that I have been more recently than my companions because they have been here so long. So I know what she is talking about and none of my companions can remember anything haha. ("She" must be one of the members?)
So I have in our pension now a way to listen to the talks and music I have put on my sd card, mostly the talks. And I have decided to use one of my notebooks to record my thoughts or quotes from the talks that I have, because I LOVE listening to talks. It's just one change that has come to me since I left on a mission. I have "God is the Gardener" from Hugh B. Brown (Dad, didn't you say you never found it?? Just click browse speakers in the upper right corner of and go to Hugh B. Brown, you will find it. It seriously is my favorite one. Every time I have listend to it, it has gotten better). "Father, are you there?" also by Hugh B. Brown, "His Grace is Sufficient" from Brad Wilcox, two from President Monson (the one from when we were at byu, and one called "Principles from Prophets") and now a few from Elder Holland. And Pte Hinckley. I recommend them all, they are all so good! And I really can testify that you learn something different from them every time you listen to them! You need to have paper and pencil or pen, it's a necessity! I love listening to them at night after a long hard day. It just helps finish your day with a really good strong spirit. And that's when you dream the best, I have noticed! :)
But I wanted to share something from one of the Hugh. B. Brown talks, hopefully I haven'tshared it before. But in his talk he is talking about man and his relationship to God. He had a quote that I LOVED, which says "Man does not believe in God because they have proved Him, but they try endlessly to prove Him because they can´t help but believing in Him. Man not only needs to posses the idea of God, but needs to be possessed by it." How true is that? We have all been created by Him, we all have a portion of Him in ourselves, even with all our differences, and as Pte. Brown puts it, "every human being has a hint of God´s image and qualities unremovably stamped in their souls." It doesn´t matter what we think in this life, it's always been a mystery to me why people would be atheist, or why they would be from this religion, or this religion, or this one, or that one... but it doesn´t matter. Every person is searching for something more, because they can't help but believe that there is Someone or Something bigger and greater than them. As Alma says in Alma 30, when he is talking to Korihor, all of these things manifest that there are a God, how can we deny it? It's so profound yet so simple, if we believe we have been created by Him, and believe that He created us in His image,and that He exists and loves us, then we have every reason to have hope in ourselves and our future, because we know that He is there watching over us and helping us. We just have to allow ourselves to be POSSESSED by the idea, because then we will be able to achieve all the potential that He has given to us.
Anyway, we have to catch a bus back to our area in a while, so I should get going, I will have more interesting news next week with investigators and lessons and progress! I love each of you, and am grateful for everything you have done for me in my life, to help make and shape me into who I am today. I hope this new year just gets better and better with every day, every week, every month! Let it be a year of higher goals, happier moments, and heavenly perspectives. (Wow, I didn´t even try for that alliteration) Don't give up! Things are getting better, we just have to focus on the good and shun the bad, and persevere until we reach that point!

Que Dios les bendiga, mis queridos amigos y familia!

Elder Tyson Gibbons
P.S. Thank you for the photo of Alex! I'm glad to see he is doing well, eating good (not necessarily healthy, but good) and it even looks like he has gained a little weight. Hahahaha if you could get me his address that would be sweet. Chris wrote him already but I have only written Logan, Ossie, and Chris. Not even my own brother haha. Oh well, an email here and there is alright. We are both pretty focused anyway. That's good, right? Also, that's so cool that our ward had a convert baptism. I had never even thought of it before, because it never happened! I have no doubt bishop was all smiles.
Dad, I am glad to hear your knee is doing better as well. I would still like to play soccer or basketball with you and Nathan when I get back, so try and keep it in place and healthy haha and I'm sure you could still help with the free throws. That's definitely a game breaker sometimes. And from what I remember, the few times I ever played basketball with you and Nathan, you hardly ever miss so... yeah. That's just a thought, hopefully you can help out!
By the way, I am looking forward to my Maipu joke book. Haha yeah I know all of us were laughing pretty hysterically when I first got here. But, the area is really cool, and we are allowed to come here to Mendoza central on p-days so I will be a LOT more familiar with missionaries, the mission, and the area now. I'm excited. Hopefully these next weeks include some more futbol.
And I was also pretty excited to have a latin comp. What you said is basically true! I think it is better to have best of both worlds. I think it has already given us a pretty good advantage here with the members, and I feel like the members have accepted me already, even though I replaced an elder who was here for 6 months before. So hopefully we can get some good work with them done as well! And I have noticed already in four days an increase in Spanish capability. Well Castellano I guess, I thought that was just the Argentine word for spanish, but I guess they are two different things. But even the goal to speak only Castellano in the streets with Elder Rogers didn´t help me this much. All the members are astounded that I can speak, and I gave my testimony first yesterday, and I was even amazed at how fluidly and solid it came out! I felt powerful, enough to make my knees shake and hands quiver, because I finally wasn't worried about what I was going to say, or putting the sentences together in my mind before (yes I know, it's a commandment not to think about what to say beforehand D&C 84:85) but you can't help it sometimes. But I just got up and expressed my heart, and it was the first time the Spirit lead my testimony, in Castellano. So yeah, I have been having some good experiences with Castellano so far! I only have eight months and everyone is just blown away that I talk like I do. But I don't let it get to my head. It means I have more responsibility to use that gift, because really it is a huge gift, to help others more. So I plan on doing that.