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
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 speeches.byu.edu 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.